1. HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT INTERNSHIP
There’s nothing worse than showing up to your first day at your internship and realizing this company and this position is really not for you. Many students make the mistake of accepting the first offer they receive even if the internship doesn’t sound that interesting to them. As a person who turned down my first offer to pursue the internship I really wanted, I can say I am SO thankful that I did. The way I found the right internship: I asked meaningful questions during my interviews. While it’s tempting to ask interviewers questions that you think will impress them, it’s more beneficial to ask questions about what you really need to know to weigh the pros and cons of each potential opportunity.
2. HOW TO NETWORK
Students hear this all the time: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But how do you get to know the people who will get you places in life? Students should be taught how to be strong networkers in the workplace. That would help first-time interns make great relationships throughout their office. A good networking tip: Don’t get into the habit of eating lunch alone at your desk. Go out to eat with fellow interns, or even ask your boss if you can grab a quick bite together so you can pick their brain.
3. HOW TO BE PROFICIENT USING A MAC AND PC WITH POWERPOINT, EXCEL, WORD, ETC.
Nothing can cripple your work more than using a computer that you have no idea how to use. Learning the basics of Mac and PC before you take on your internship would help you do great work no matter what computer you’re provided!
4. HOW TO EFFECTIVELY RUN A MEETING
Many great internships will offer a group project for the interns. One difficult part of working together with your fellow interns is having productive meetings. If students were taught the art of running an effective meeting, interns would have a very useful skill that would make much better use of their meeting time. Simple guidelines on how to create an agenda, stay on topic, assigns owners and due dates, take notes, and manage the clock should be taught at universities and practiced in the office.
5. HOW TO MAKE SNAP DECISIONS
Chances are your internship will give you the opportunity to make some judgment calls on the work you do. If students were taught how to make strong decisions in high pressure situations, it would go a long way in helping first-time interns become better decision makers. Best advice I’ve received in this department: Listen to your gut, don’t be afraid to speak up when you have an idea, ask questions when you’re unsure, and never assume anything.
6. HOW TO BEST COMMUNICATE YOUR SKILLS/INTERESTS
The company you work for wants you to enjoy your experience, utilize your skills, and contribute to the business. If you’ve landed an internship at the right company, your boss will likely give you work that goes along with your skill set. Don’t be afraid to highlight your interests as well as your skills and chances are your boss will think of you when projects relating to those topics come up in the future!
7. HOW TO BE A LIFE-LONG LEARNER
As much as you might be able to learn at your university, there is no way anyone can be completely prepared for their first internship. If nothing else, your university should be teaching you that every day in the working world will be another lesson to be learned. So… ask questions, pay attention, and take notes! Here’s wishing everyone great success in your first internship.
-Molly Rudnick, Business Development Intern