Nine Keys to Succeeding in Your Internship
- Arrive on time and communicate if you’re going to be late
- Follow the company break schedule
- Complete your tasks by their deadlines
- Follow up on things to which you have committed
Approach all tasks with a positive and eager mindset
- Complete all tasks with enthusiasm—even some of the less-than-exciting tasks an intern may be called upon to do.
Follow common workplace expectations
- Follow dress codes
- Be aware of expectations for use of headphones – typically frowned upon in corporate settings
- When in doubt about an office policy, ask.
- Use your time at your host company to meet as many people as possible and learn what they do.
Build a relationship with your supervisor
- If your supervisor doesn’t set up a meeting with you, ask for time to meet.
- Ask for feedback from your supervisor to make sure you are on the right track.
- Share your own goals for your internship so s/he knows what you would like to learn.
Set up strong organizational systems
- Get familiar with the email, phone and other communications systems, such as Slack.
- Keep your calendar up to date and check it regularly.
- Keep your email organized and respond promptly to messages.
- Keep up-to-date lists of tasks and deadlines.
Managing up: Keeping your manager informed
- Send updates to your manager when you’ve finished projects or to inform them of your status
- If you anticipate challenges completing a certain task/meeting a deadline, communicate in advance of the deadline
- Communicate when you have downtime
- Be proactive- if you anticipate downtime could come up again in the future, ask for examples of things you could be doing during this downtime.
- Ask for resources that will help you better understand the company and your team’s culture and goals. This will also help with any downtime you may experience.
- Observe something that could potentially be done more efficiently and have an idea of a way to address it? Share the idea with your supervisor.
- If you have any free time in the day and, or you can plan in advance, arrange to shadow a colleague to learn about a new task.
Follow email communication best practices
- Email is formal communication within the workplace – use appropriate subject lines, greetings and sign-offs.
- Use a businesslike tone.
- Proofread your email before you send it.
- Emails live forever on the computer network. Never send anything you wouldn’t want your supervisor to read and share.
Read more in Bottom Line’s full Guide to a Successful Internship:
Project Onramp is ready to break down barriers and speed students from underrepresented backgrounds to success—while helping our member companies build their talent pipeline and boost diversity.