Making the Most of Your Internship

Congratulations on joining the 93% of BU graduates that participate in at least one internship before graduating.  This is a big deal, and it’s time to shine!

Here are a few pointers before your first day:

Make connections. Networking can be intimidating, but it is simply making quality connections; meeting and getting to know the people around you. First, determine if you are among any BU graduates or interns and connect with them over coffee or lunch. When making connections, ask people about their lives and how they got to where they are today. Sometimes you’ll speak with someone, and they may not be the perfect person to assist you at that moment. Ask them for ideas on other people inside or outside the organization to talk with about your career pursuits.

Be dependable. Remember, when in doubt, if you get to work early, you’re on time; and if you’re on time, you’re late. Set a precedent and be the person who’s there when they need you. You don’t want to be the one making excuses for not getting the job done.

If you enjoy working for your internship employer, think of this internship as an interview for a possible job after graduation.

Stand out in the crowd. Sometimes the best way to make a solid impression is to simply ask enough questions to gain information because really the most important part of an internship is your professional development. Stay true to yourself, understand why you’re there, and remind others why you are excited to be there.

Be a continuous learner. Create a learning opportunity at every chance. If you’re asked to photocopy something, read it and learn from it as you photocopy (don’t share anything confidential). If you’re asked to help piece together a presentation for someone else, ask if you can sit in when the presentation is delivered.

Understand the culture. What’s the dress code? What’s the meeting protocol? Do people bring their lunch or attend lunch meetings? Observe and answer these questions early on to adapt to your environment. As an intern, you don’t want to stand out in a negative way, and to do so you need to understand the culture of your organization in the way you dress, speak, interact, etc.

What an opportunity you have in front of you—a significant step in your career path and your professional growth. Make the most of it, and good luck!

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