Internship crash course

By Maddy Linden

So…you need an internship to get a job. Employers want you to have experience to see how you have handled professional situations in the past, how you have succeeded and how you have failed. Meg Sealey, the internship coordinator at St. Michael’s College, recently shared a collection of tips from past students, and what they wish they had known prior to their internship.

Here are 10 tips, from one intern to another.

Take initiative and leadership

Even if your supervisors don’t always hand-feed you assignments or give you cut clean directions, taking initiative and then telling future employers how you handled them can convince them of the value you bring.

Observe people and situations

Being able to watch and learn is a huge part of the internship. Seeing how your supervisor holds themselves when interacting with others taught me a lot about how I would like to be seen by people in a professional setting.

Embrace the situation

Some situations in an internship you are thrown into, expected to do your best work. Do the best you can, and you will learn from your mistakes. Embrace it.

Ask a lot of questions!

But only when you need answers.

Be patient
You are an intern, don’t forget that. You will be working with people who are much more experienced than you are about projects or things going on at the company and that’s ok, you are still learning. Don’t be intimidated.

Plan ahead
If you know that you are going on vacation with your family for a week, let your supervisor know as soon as possible, and continue to remind them, and ask for work the week before so you can get ahead. When you return all relaxed, you won’t be too far behind.

Schedule, schedule, schedule

Time management is hard, and takes a lot of practice. My internship from his summer, is flowing into the school year and I have started waking up an hour earlier to get my internship work and homework done all in the same day.

Talk and listen

Communication is key; by watching your supervisor you will learn how to talk to people with a professional standpoint whether it’s in-person, over email or over the phone, and how to speak with with different audiences, supervisors, volunteers, or co-workers.

Just be yourself

People want to see your authentic self.

Maintain professionalism

The best takeaway for a lot of internships, is to learn HOW to be professional but also how to balance that with being a college student/intern. Writing professional emails may be the hardest adjustment.