University Career Center

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Interning 101: Want to know how to make a great impression at your internship? The Career Center offers these 4 tips for achieving Intern Success Status!

1. Master The Small Stuff First

All new relationships are built on trust and you and your new internship supervisor are no exception. Want more responsibility or high-level projects? Don't forget to do a great job at the most basic parts of your job first before asking for more.  Demonstrating how quickly you picked up on the requested tasks of your internship opens the door for conversation about what else you'd like to be doing. And when you are ready to have that conversation, make sure you tell your supervisor how much you are enjoying your internship and therefore why it excites you to make a bigger contribution.

2. Look Outside Of Your Department For Networking Opportunities

At a large organization? Consider what else about the company's functionality that excites you beyond your immediate co-workers. Be curious about the big picture of the organization and how your internship plays a role in that. Consider going out to lunch with people who have a job you know nothing about. The results might surprise you. As a bonus: find other Michigan alums working at the organization. LinkedIn is a great tool for doing this or connect with your Internship supervisor about possible pre-existing alumni networks.

Interning at a smaller organization? Ask you supervisor what professional organizations they belong to on at the local level and see whether or not accompanying them for a networking function might be possible.  

3. But Don't Forget About Your Peers Too!

It would be a mistake to think the only people worth networking with are more established professionals at your internship. Fellow interns and recent grads can be a phenomenal support system and a great resource for finding others who are exploring similar career paths to you. The recent grad you work alongside is a future hiring manager and your fellow intern could provide you with a great lead or contact when you are on the job or internship hunt next time around. Like your fellow seatmates at the BigHouse, it's fun connecting with people who share your passion!

4. Understanding Expectations From The Beginning Means Ending On A Positive Note

When internships work best, they are great learning opportunities to clarify career interests and, sometimes, are potential first steps to a full time offer. So make sure your supervisor has nothing but positive feelings about your time at their organization. How will your performance be evaluated? What are the both daily and summer-long projects it is expected you will accomplish? What made former interns stand out in the past (for better or worse)?  Ask your supervisor these questions at the beginning of the summer, to ensure you are on the same page. And while you're at, get a good sense of how and to what frequency they like to be updated on your progress (email? weekly set meetings?). Both of you are adapting your work styles to one another so be sure they are in sync!

Photo Credit: JAXPORT CC BY 2.0