Well done! You got an internship and are ready to start soon!
There are a lot of ways to have a great experience. Let's take a look at some key steps!
Set Yourself Up For Success
Time management and planning
Being on time is always important but particularly in internships.
Know where the office is and how long it takes to get there. Use google maps to see the commute time add buffer just in case! Need more tips for being on time?
Make a checklist of things to take on your first day:
Notebook, pen, charger, ID, contracts, water bottle, lunch, mints or gum, other essentials
Pro tip: During the first week ask around to see if there’s a carpool. You'll get to use the carpool lane, it's better for the environment, AND you get to build relationships with your coworkers. Nice one, intern!
You will be introducing yourself to a lot of people in a short time. Think of this as a mini elevator pitch or highlight real.
Practice a 15-second and 30-second version.
Sample: "Nice to meet you! I am Yumi Reed, a 2nd-year political science student and member of the student government at Greendale Community College. I look forward to learning more about creating public policy while interning at City Hall."
Pro tip: Keep a list of personal accomplishments: it is easy to forget and undervalue your own work! This is a great mental health exercise and will make it easier for you to share with coworkers, on applications, and when coworkers or managers ask about your interests.
What To Wear
Dress codes can vary greatly between companies, industries, and departments. They may be formally written rules or unstated social norms you are expected to figure out.
Check your employee handbook for a company dress code.
It is better to wear more formal clothes initially and adjust later on.
If buying new clothes buy pieces for one week and mix and match. You can always buy more later!
Many offices consider jeans and T-shirts appropriate but remember to keep text and designs professional.
Pro tip: Not a fan of clothes? Think of this as a uniform. If you have a few suits, shirts, and dresses in a set colour palette you can grab and go. Consider hanging full outfits in your closet together!
Do you have to spend a lot on clothing for work?
Google It, But Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Good onboarding will cover all the main ideas, but you'll likely have questions.
Assume many people have the same question.
Avoid pretending to know things: you will only be setting yourself up for failure.
If you have a general industry question, Google it first. This shows initiative and you can ask more advanced questions.
Always keep a notebook with you. Write down questions, ideas, or things to follow up about later.
Pro tip: Look up common industry terms and acronyms before you start. If you are given a new task or project look up "common problems when doing _____." This is a good way to stay ahead of possible challenges!
You boss asks you to email the KPI's for your project but you don't know what KPI means. What do you do?
Understand Your Role And Responsibilities
Review the internship job description for skills needed and expectations.
Review the company's website carefully.
If you know who will be your supervisor take a look at their LinkedIn, online presence, or website blurb.
Many workplaces will have a 1-on-1 check-in meeting weekly with a supervisor to gauge progress, challenges, and concerns. Consider requesting one if it's not already part of the plan!
Pro tip: In your first couple of weeks identify an area in which you can make a difference or contribute to outside of your written role. Create a realistic goal you can accomplish a few weeks before your internship ends. This will give you time in case it is more challenging than expected and help you stand out as someone going above and beyond.
Connect with Rumie learners
Browse more content and join a supportive community! Browse more content, receive support, share your expertise, and keep learning through text and voice chat!
- Discord Member
This Byte has been authored by
Director of Content Programs | Debate Coach