Mom would be so proud of you right now as you head out for your first day of work. You never know what doors will open up for you through college internships, but right now you’re probably only doing this for one of the following reasons:
- You’re getting credits for something without going to class.
- Mom said you need to start getting solid work experience.
- You are determined to build your résumé up before graduation.
- Your professor thinks you are a genius and recommended you to this company.
Whatever your reason is for doing the internship, you should embrace this experience as a stepping stone for future job experience. College internships give you excellent experience in an office environment, provide references for your next job, and allow you to put what you’re learning in the classroom into use in the real world.
Tasks performed during college internships will vary from filing and data entry to accompanying the executives to their meetings. No matter what you are doing, you should always be enthusiastic and agreeable. You are learning by just being in the environment and absorbing what is going on around you. The harder and more diligently you work at your internship position, the more responsibility your supervisor will give you.
For whatever length of time you are at your internship—whether it’s a month or a year—you should always conduct yourself in a professional manner. Make sure that you show up on time, dress appropriately, turn off your cell phone, speak clearly, listen intently, and enjoy yourself! If you ever have to leave for a doctor’s appointment or a class assignment, be sure to give your employer a week’s notice.
Finally, if you are at a computer for work, you should not be surfing the latest ESPN scores or shopping on the GAP Web site for a new summer outfit. There is always something to be done, so if you run out of work, take the initiative to ask your supervisor for a new assignment. Similarly, the phone at your desk is for work-related calls, not the gossip from last night’s study session with the cute guy from world civ class. Remember that many college student internships lead to job offers upon graduation, so if you mind your manners and apply your fabulous skills, you never know what they may offer!