Ten Dos to Survive Your First Internship
By now, many of you have already started an internship. The Undergraduate Center for Career Development has a few tips to share to help ease the transition from school to workforce:
Before the internship:
- For International Students, do secure a visa permit. Please visit the Glavin Office to learn more about the requirement for CPT/OPT. You will need to register for the Career Exploration Lab before you are able to apply for CPT. Once you have the proper paperwork, sit tight and enjoy the ride. This is going to be the chance of a lifetime to experience American Workforce culture.
- Do your research. A few days before your start, review the roles and expectations, as well as the research you did while preparing for the interview. Research the buzzwords, your supervisors, and company culture through Vault Career Insider, Linked In and Glassdoor. Most importantly, plan your transportation and driving route, so that you can show up at least 15 minutes earlier than your start time.
During the internship:
- Do be on time. In the workplace, showing up on time for everything shows that you are a trustworthy employee. You have one chance to make a great first impression.
- Do dress appropriately. “Dress for the position you want, not the one you have”. This summarizes everything we need to say about this point. Click hereto see our guide on Dress with Confidence.
- Do ask questions and take notes. It’s best to ask plenty of questions to show you are engaged and to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Keep a notebook to help remember the important things. This also shows that you are paying attention.
- Do socialize. Get to know your boss and co-workers personally through coffee and lunch break. This way you can quickly build up social capital. Avoid overly causal or sensitive topics. They are not your “buddies”.
- Do seek feedback. Ask for feedback on a regular basis. It shows that you are willing to make changes and gives you opportunities to improve and take on new tasks.
- Do take initiative. In general, quality is more important than quantity. However, once you know your job well, you should take on additional projects to show that you are serious about your internship and you have the capability to grow.
- Do keep a record of your work. Writing down your accomplishment during the internship can help you ask for recommendation (letter) or full time opportunity after the internship. It can also help strengthen your resume.
After the internship:
- Do keep in touch. Keep your co-worker and boss’ contact information. Write a thank-you note shortly after you complete your internship. Connect on LinkedIn with your supervisor and co-workers by sending personalized invitations. Ask if your supervisor can be your mentor. Build a long term relationship with them and treat this as a career development opportunity.
To learn more, please click here to watch a three-minute video on How to Make the Most of Your Internship.
Hope all of you have a fruitful summer and enjoy your time at work. Our office is open during the summer. Feel free to make an appointment through Handshake to check in for advice or troubleshooting anything that may come up. We also look forward to seeing you in the fall to help you to tell your professional story in your professional documents and interview process.