Internship Dos and Don’ts

Spring is just around the corner and that means the summer internship search is in high gear. Unlike, students in a brick and mortar institution, UMass online students have the great advantage of a flexible schedule allowing them to spend more time at their internship to ensure they get the full experience,  whether they are on summer break or not. As students start or search for internships here are a few Dos and Don’ts to remember.

DO

Always be on time. Punctuality is essential when starting an internship. Allow extra time for things like traffic or other unforeseen delays. However, the unexpected or unavoidable can happen, so if you are going to be late, make sure to let your supervisor know as soon as you can and provide an estimate of how late you will be. Also, do not make it a habit.

Ask questions. Managers prefer that you ask questions on an assignment, rather than do the project poorly because you did not understand the entire scope or concept. This also helps to develop your communication skills in an office setting.

Keep an open mind. Not every internship will be for you. However, it is just as important to learn what you do not like just as much as what you do like. This will help you to narrow down the best career path for you.

DON’T

Leave before asking if your manager needs any additional help. While we all enjoy walking out the door after a long day, it is a good practice to check with your boss to make sure that they don’t need anything else from you before you leave. Nine times out of ten they will not need anything, but they will remember your commitment.

Hand something in without proofing your work. You would not turn in a term paper without reading it, so why would you turn in something at your internship without checking for spelling or grammatical errors. It may seem like there are too many deadlines and not enough time, but ensuring quality of the work is worth waiting a few extra minutes before you hit send.

Be afraid to voice your ideas. Good companies don’t hire interns simply because they need someone. Most companies have a strong interest in teaching the up-and-coming workforce and also want fresh new ideas. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts when appropriate. Even if it isn’t exactly on target, your manager will appreciate your effort!

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