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10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

Here are some important tips for getting the most out of your internship.

Three people in an office. The center, a woman gesturing with her pen and smiling.

1. Show Initiative. This reflects to your employer much more than just the skills you have, but the overall interest you have in the job and your willingness to contribute to the organization. Something as simple as coming up with new ideas for the office, identifying new opportunities for the business, or even offering to head a project, all of these decisions play a role in how you will be assessed. Remember to leave your ego at the door as there may be some grunt work to be done at the internship.

2. Pay Attention to the Office Culture. Observe how others in the organization act and mirror that. Notice how people communicate by email and phone. Sometimes a face-to-face conversation is the best way to conduct business- especially if they are right down the hall!

3. Exceed Expectations. It is important that you not only manage your time well, but that you exceed expectations of those around you. Example: If your boss tells you to get a task done and you have 5 days to do it, you shouldn’t be scrambling to get it done on the fifth and last day. Try to get it done on day three and leave some time for feedback.

4. ASK! ASK! ASK! Asking questions is crucial to your learning as an intern and will help you master the skills of the job. Asking more questions will also increase your success in the workplace by limiting the opportunity for error. Remember, there is no stupid question!

5. Focus on the Job at Hand. Don’t use social networking sites unless it is part of your job description or text with friends throughout the workday. You may be confident that it doesn’t affect your work, but experienced managers may feel confident that it does.

6. Show Skills, Not Skin! Dress appropriately. There are no “intern exceptions”. No flip flops, ultra-low-rise jeans, bra straps showing, stained or wrinkled clothes which give the impression that you just rolled out of bed!

7. DWI: Drinking While Interning. This is not cool EVER! You are still being observed at social outings or dinner engagements and drinking is never appropriate even if other interns partake.

8. Get to Know Your Co-workers and Identify Those You Can Learn From. Ask co-workers about their own careers. How did they get into the field? What do they like about it? What do they find challenging? What advice do they have for you?

9. Leverage Your Position to Network. Talk about your career plans, and let co-workers know you're open to advice, both now and in the future. They can be helpful by sharing job leads, recommending you for a job, and suggesting various career choices. Most people are happy to help, but they might not offer if you don't ask.

10. What Employers Look for the Candidates. Leadership, passion, collaboration, communication, strong personal brand, flexibility, ability to follow instructions, how to be a lifelong learner

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