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Your Summer Internship Survival Guide


Oh, internships. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Internships are a necessity in this day and age. No one wants to hire someone with no experience. Like it or not, you are going to have to have an internship at some point in your professional career. But your internship doesn’t have to be painful. Here are a few ways to get the most out of whatever internship you get.

1. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas- Just because you are an intern doesn’t mean your ideas aren’t just as good as everyone else’s.  At my first internship I was literally mute. I had so many ideas for articles and stories that would have benefited the magazine but I couldn’t muster up the confidence to see myself as anything more than an intern.  No one remembered me and I doubt I could get a letter of recommendation from them if I stood on my head and did cartwheels in the office lobby.

2. Take initiative- It’s hard to see someone as a leader when they are always waiting to be told what to do.  They want interns, not sheep.  If you see something that needs to be done, do it.

3. Be early- Obviously.  Being on time is not enough and if you’re late you might as well just stay home.

4. Ask for feedback- If you want to know how you’re doing, Ask! The sooner you realize there is a problem, the faster you can fix it.

5. Spell check, Spell Check, Spell Check- Nothing is more embarrassing then spending thousands of dollars on school each semester and looking like you still can’t spell.  If you are emailing or having any kind of correspondence with your boss please, for the love of God, send it through spell check.

6. Network-  Hopefully you have an internship in the field that you eventually want to work in.  If so, take this opportunity to meet everyone you can.  Be nice to EVERYONE, even the guy who refills the water dispenser.  Even if people don’t remember any of the work you did while you were there, they will remember that you were always kind.

7. Grin and Bear It-  You’re bound to have at least one boss who is not satisfied until they have made you cry. Don’t.  Smile and take whatever they throw at you.  Sometimes your boss is just testing you to see how bad you want it.

8. Have Fun!- Last, but not least, have fun, make friends, and put your best foot forward.  Most internships are unpaid.  There is no reason for you to be unpaid AND unhappy.

[Lead image via Goodluz/Shutterstock]