Five Tips for the First Day of Your Internship

Internships are an incredible opportunity, and you need to hit the ground running to take full advantage. 

1) Understand the Opportunity: There are plenty of jokes about interns spending their summer making coffee and wasting their time with busy work.  Don’t fall for that misconception. Companies have no need to waste their time or your time, and they don't need cheap labor.

Companies have internship programs so that they can test drive the talent. They want to see you and how well you work in a professional setting.  Take your responsibilities seriously from day one.  A successful internship is the best way into many companies! 

2) Recognize that They WANT to Hire You: Most interns don’t realize that the company is invested in your success. If you were hired as an intern, that means they believe you have the right skills to make an excellent full-time employee. The human resources professionals who run the internship programs are judged based on their “conversion rate” from interns to full-time employees.

From the company’s perspective, a higher conversion rate means that the internship program was well recruited and well run. That means they want to hire you. Give them what they want! 

3)    Know the Company: This may seem obvious, but employees tend to be passionate about their
company. Make sure you know everything there is to know about the company before you start. Your knowledge and expertise will help you stand out compared to less-prepared interns.

4)    Learn Your Role: Most companies hire interns to work in a specific subdivision of the company. Learn the mission of that department and your role in it. Success begins with mastering your role and exceeding the expectations for your position. It is much easier to be successful when you know what you are supposed to accomplish.

5)    Network, Network, Network!: Network as much and as often as you can during your internship. Do not miss a company social or networking event. Attend the company barbecue, networking events, socials, etc. Try
to make a positive impression on a large number of people. Your network will be essential for your future success, both at that company and beyond.

Chaim Shapiro is the Director of the Office for Student Success at Touro College.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.