By Interns for Interns: 5 Tips to Be Successful in Your First Internship
Updated: Apr 19
By Elizabeth Driggers, Account Executive
Internships are widely known for being incredibly beneficial to college students. These opportunities allow for students to experience the normalcy of working in a specific industry. According to a 2017 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 53% of the students who completed an internship within their field of interest or study received a post-graduate job offer as a result of their internship. As exciting as a job or internship might be, at first, it can seem daunting. Feeling the pressure but not sure where to begin? No need to worry, start with these five tips former interns swear by to be successful in your first internships.
1. Establish expectations for your internship experience.
Before you start an internship, review what you want to get out of the experience. In addition, discuss with your supervisor what their expectations are for you. This will help both parties ensure their expectations are heard and acknowledged and in turn establish a partnership.
2. Communicate regularly with your team.
Whether you’re working directly with your supervisor or a team of other interns, it is recommended that interns check in with your team on a weekly basis, if not daily. Open communication with your team allows for interns to easily discuss deliverables, receive clarification about assignments and ask follow-up questions and build a good rapport with your employer. In addition, it shows your supervisor that you WANT to be there!
3. Build friendly relationships with your coworkers.
Although you are there to learn, it can be rewarding to really get to know who you are working alongside. This allows for you and your supervisor, coworkers and/or fellow interns to see each other as people with lives and personalities outside of your respective positions. During weeks the team is feeling pressure, established relationships allow for each team member to feel comfortable sharing their levels of stress and commitment. This also helps with establishing a healthy work environment. A great way to establish a friendly atmosphere is to ask your team members questions about their weekend, holiday celebrations or interests.
4. Ask Questions!
More than likely, if you have a question, others do too. It’s always better to get clarification before starting an assignment or project rather than ask for forgiveness, which often leads to an unhappy supervisor or client.
5. Take advantage of an online calendar.
Whether it’s Google Calendar or something else, there are a multitude of free calendars and agenda apps available for free. This is crucial as it allows interns to stay organized and maintain a balance of school, your internship, and self care. In addition, it may be beneficial to share your online calendar with your employer so you both can find the best times to meet. To find the perfect calendar for you, visit College Info Geek: The Best Calendar Apps.
Whether you plan to intern with a public relations agency, an engineer or anything in between, these steps have helped students be successful throughout their first internship. With these steps, we hope you’ll have a unique and exciting internship experience.