Mitchel Better • Remember that internships are not about the money, but the opportunity and experience. Try to diversify yourself with multiple skills and knowledge to make yourself more marketable when applying for full-time jobs.
Michael Phelps • Keep a journal. Record what you see and hear and think. Save questions and pick the best five and ask them weekly unless answering any one of them is necessary to execution on any given day. Listen lots; talk not so much. Link in with all that you meet–you never know. Never burn a bridge. Everything begins with a sale–including selling yourself to a boss, co-workers and customers. Keep all conversation focused on the other person in the conversation.
Roger Elias • First – “Do not believe everything you think!” 2nd – ask good questions, 3rd – listen intently and then 4th make sound decisions …
Once you get the hang of that process, then volunteer to do extra projects, look for a mentor to help you understand the office politics …. you never know what you might learn or who can help you in the future … have fun!
Internships can be great learning experiences …. you may learn positive things … but you may also learn a lot about things you will never want to see or do again! Your interniship will be a journey … be adaptable!
Ryan Elmer • Network! Sometimes the work performed by interns isn’t the greatest, but remember to be an engaging professional to everyone you meet at your internship. Having the right advocates during the career search process will make the world of difference to you.
Abhayam Sharma • While you might find yourself swimming in new information and processes there are a few things you must be cognoscente of:
1. Try to keep track of how long it takes to you become fully functional during the ramp up process. Quick studies are sought after by employers and it is an effective talking point to bring up during an interview.
2. Try to understand how your coursework translates to your work during the internship. Too often students get to graduation but don’t have any idea what they learned or how their knowledge/training can be used in the workplace. There is also very little accountability on your school to make sure that your coursework is actually useful. This is one of the reasons that employers shy away from new graduates. It is your job to sell what you are able to do so try to align classroom learning with the things you see around your office (there are going to be other people doing things that you actually learned how to do. Take note of their position and take the time to try to talk to them about their work so that you can be informed about your opportunities when you graduate)
3. Track your tasks and accomplishments/goals reached. They are important during an interview process because the hiring manager will often ask you about them.
4. At the end of the internship you should be able to answer the question “how did you help the firm?” every employer is asking that question. If you can answer it for them it leaves little left to perception
5. Make friends and contacts! Networking is the way to a permanent job. Make friends both inside and outside the department in which you work. You never know when someone can help you. Make connections and add them on Linkedin it will expand your ability to view job openings on this site.
6. Do not forget the recruiting manager: Stay in contact with this person. Make a point of speaking to this person as often as you can while you are working. If you make them feel like you are appreciative and they matter they are more likely to place you within the firm or refer you to their counterparts at other firms (This is how I got my job)
6. GET A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION!!!!!! This is one of the most powerful documents that will help you get a job. After your academic record this is one of the things that will separate you from the crowd. 90% of graduates do not have letters of recommendation. Imagine what a couple of these would do to separate you from the pack.
7. Overachieve! Think of an internship as a tryout. If you don’t give it your all you have nobody to blame but yourself. Believe it or not 3 months will fly and even though you might not be able to work at that pace for a whole year your future employer doesn’t know that!
John Schurz • You have access to the “experts” of your potential chosen field. Ask as many questions as you can and lobby to be given specific projects so you can learn on the job. Practice beats theory almost every time.
Jay Peterson • Make yourself invaluable. I had two interns last summer. One needed constant supervision, and details of what to do and how to do it. But she didn’t ask questions or for help if she didn’t understand something. The other – asked questions, offered suggestions, clarified expectations. She not only did her projects, but she took INITIATIVE by doing beyond what was asked – but did what she knew would benefit the organization. She also met with key personnel to learn about their function, and asked what would be helpful to them to make their jobs easier. She was prompt and ultra organized. She detailed all of her work/projects and left notes on what else needed to be done to either continue or improve upon the projects she started.
Frank Modica • I have come to the thread late. Most of my points have been made above.
Treat an internship as a 12 week interview. Realize employers WANT you to succeed. Otherwise they are recruiting for open positions which takes time and effort.
Politely back away from gossipers, complainers, and other toxic personalities who will kevtch about all that is “screwed up about this place”.
Treat an internship as a dress rehearsal. Your perception of what a job is may not match up with the reality. Learn as much as possible about as many jobs as possible. This will help in making employment decisions later on.
Jayson Smith • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Listen and ask questions at the appropriate time…however don’t let a question that you have go unasked!
David Kovacovich • Here are a few tips:
1. Get to the office early and stay late.
2. Ask a lot of questions.
3. Offer to take on extra projects.
4. Do not feel as though any task is beneath you.
5. Find a mentor (or several).
6. Set goals every Monday and recap them every Friday.
7. Focus on positive feedback!!!
8. Make adjustments when given constructive feedback.
Skills is stronger than luck! Work Hard!
Mo Hall • It’s very easy for interns to be seen and not heard, and by the time they get comfortable, it’s time to move on. As quickly as you can, be someone that your peers will remember after your internship is complete; a strong, seamless social integration will also help ease some growing pains of learning your job and responsibilities.
To re-emphasize a comment upthread, keep in mind that everyone wants you to succeed–but be sure to have confidence in yourself.
Dale Weber • I think all the above are great, wish I’d known a few earlier (keep a journal!)
I’d just like to add to grasp the opportunities to talk to your co-workers. Consider putting the lunch you brought with you back in the fridge and getting a bite with somebody in the office. The stories between the lines – what they do in their roles and what educational and work experiences got them to those roles – can be very useful when you graduate and need to choose a career path to meet your talents and interests.
Paul Sabatino • Put your best foot forward: Quite often, companies view internships as tryouts for future hires. Looking to receive an offer at the end of your internship? Hitting it out of the park with each assignment or task that crosses your desk is the best place to start.
Spatial Awareness: For many, a summer internship is their first look into corporate America. If your time as a summer associate is nothing more than an internship, you’ll want to be able to paint a clear and concise picture of the experience you’ve gained. So, take a moment to learn about the company you’re at:
1. What service, product or widget do they provide to the world?
2. What vertical or industry are they part of?
3. Who are their competitors (potential employers who may have interest in the industry knowledge you are acquiring)?
4. What internal divisions are you coordinating with (Accounting & Finance, Technology, Legal & Compliance, Sales & Marketing, etc.)?
Resume Building Blog: At the end of your internship, one of the more challenging undertakings will be summarizing and highlighting your work experience. From your first day forward, grab a legal pad or a spiral notebook and keep a running log of your day to day activity. Start where most of your time is spent, leverage the position description you applied to, summarize mini-milestones, project initiatives and tasks completed as well as new software systems you’ve been exposed to (Accounting suites, CRM’s, ERP’s, heavy Excel usage etc.). Your Resume Building Blog will provide you with building blocks as you update your resume in the fall.
Build your Professional Network: Are you part of the LinkedIn community? Well, you should be. Unless you have a website or blog, LinkedIn might be your only professional corner of the web. Take some time to review and update your current profile early on (Be sure to add your new position). Employment dates, titles, Degrees (expected or completed) should mirror your resume as many companies choose to review both. Send invites to your co-workers, team members, managers and executives that you interact with over the summer. Last but not least, try to identify a few managers or mentors that have taken interest in your work or been impressed with your efforts that might be open to writing a recommendation for your profile. Two or three should do the trick!
Stand out & Finish Strong: Leave your mark while you’re there and stand out from the intern crowd. Working for a company that lacks documentation or direction for interns? Consider creating a FYI binder throughout the summer for the next intern; the little things go a long way and it’s a desktop reference manual for you as well. Do not slack off on your contribution toward the end of the summer; this is the time to put in your best work, finish strong and end on a high note. Remember to thank those you worked with and let them know how much you appreciated their time and direction over the summer. Exchange of personal contact information might not be a bad idea, let them know you are reachable should additional information on your project work be needed.
Garrett Gosselink • Be sure to connect on LinkedIn with everyone you meet in your internship, co-workers and customers alike!