Tips for Making the Most of an Internship

Before Accepting the Internship...

  • Be sure that you are comfortable that the internship will be a good fit and will provide opportunities to have experiences and develop skills related to long- and/or short-term professional goals.
    • Talk with the institutional representative about the experiences that interest you and the skills you would like to develop and/or improve.
    • Write out goals for the internship and ask what projects are available to assist with meeting those goals.
    • Clarify the expectations of the person who will supervise the internship.
  • Talk to the supervisor about what type of evaluation will be available and/or required.  Request opportunities for periodic "check-ins" to make sure everyone is on the same page and happy with the progress that is being made.
  • Make sure their deadline to make a decision will give you plenty of time to tie up other opportunities you might be interested in.

During the Internship

  • Pay attention to the office culture. Dress appropriately. Observe co-workers and learn from their behaviors.
  • Be friendly and polite to everyone.
  • Pay attention to detail; follow instructions carefully.  Ask questions.
  • Stay on task; don't engage in social media, text, or accept personal phone call unless given permission to do so.
  • If any problems arise, ask to set up a time to talk with your supervisor.
  • Be aware that the Internship may not always be work directly related to what you want to do; clerical work, running errands, or other routine tasks may be part of the experience.
  • Be open and flexible; stay positive.

After the Internship

  • Leave in good standing.
  • Make sure to ask if it is okay to use your supervisor or the person with whom you worked primarily as a reference.
  • Send a handwritten Thank You card, or if unable to mail, email a thank you note.