Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
7 tips to get the most out of your internship
First Published Jun 02 2012 01:01 am • Last Updated Jun 02 2012 01:01 am

By now, many college interns have started their summer gigs.

Eager, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, they are ready to tackle the problems of the world, to impress their employers so much that job offers are tendered before the third week of their programs.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Unfortunately, many interns, bored with the mundane tasks they have been assigned or disillusioned that higher-ups consider them too young and inexperienced, begin to lose that optimism around Week 2.

Maureen Dumas, vice president of experiential education and career services at Johnson & Wales University, says that more students than ever want internships, in part because their parents push for it. Parents often see an internship as a way for their child to get in the door and see if the industry the student has chosen is a good fit.

Still, if a student isn’t well prepared, both the employer and student can end up disappointed. She says Johnson & Wales, which has campuses in Providence, R.I.; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; and North Miami, Fla., works closely with students to make sure that they have mentors and that administrative staff and faculty advisers monitor them before and during their internships.

"The first thing anyone doing an internship should ask is what he or she wants to get out of the experience," Dumas says. "They need to think about what areas they want to be exposed to and what skill sets they need to learn."

To get that internship, a student should begin looking one or two terms ahead of time, working with a school’s career center to make contacts with prospective employers.

Once an internship is secured, a student can make the most out of the experience:

1. Dress appropriately. » Many college students live in jeans and sweat pants, inappropriate for most offices.

Look for photos online of company meetings that show employee dress, or check with the human resources office beforehand about what to wear. The first days provide the most opportunities to be introduced to others throughout the company, and you want to make a good impression.

story continues below
story continues below

2. Check out LinkedIn. » Search alumni groups to see if someone from your school works at the company.

If so, invite that person for lunch or coffee and see if the alum would be interested in mentoring you during your internship.

3. Get personal business cards. » These cards should provide your contact information so you can give them to people you meet at the company.

If you give a presentation, you will want to leave with attendees’ business cards or contact information.

"This is a good way to follow up later if you’re still looking for a job," Dumas says.

4. Be on your toes. » "You never know when you might run into the CEO," Dumas says.

"Always be ready to tell him or her about why you want to work there," she says. "Do your homework so you know about the company."

5. Monitor the company intranet. » Jobs may be posted internally before being sent to job boards.

Make sure you read those offerings weekly so you can jump on them immediately.

6. Stay positive. » Every job has tasks that are not fun.

The same is true of internships. Older workers often think interns need to pay their dues, so they will give you menial tasks.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.