Words from the Wise: How to Succeed in Your Summer Internship (or What Not to Do)

By Audrey Lancaster and Sarah Donohue-Rolfe, Class of 2017

Now that we are graduates and about to return to the adult world, we wanted to impart some advice on how to be successful in your summer internship. Most advice you receive will be on how to behave or build your network effectively. But we think it is more helpful to share how NOT to behave at your internship, unless you desire to be a perpetual career changer. So long as you avoid these pitfalls, you can guarantee at least a recommendation, if not a full time offer.

1.    Don’t show up late. Your internship is only 10-12 weeks and you want to make a good impression. You have plenty of time to sleep in as a second year because let’s be honest, you have to rest up before TNDC but the internship is not this time.

2.    Facebook stalking is not your profession - stay off social media while at the job and you won’t risk finding awkward photos of your boss. You should be working hard and not playing on social media.

3.    Avoid making personal calls to your friends and mom while at work. That call or text message can surely wait until you leave work and your friends and cube mates will thank you for not boring them with your monotonous daily routine.

4.    Leggings are not real pants and picking up the closest article of clothing from your hamper does not make a good impression. An iron can be your friend. Also, Febreze does not count as doing your laundry. Dress appropriately.

5.    Never pick your nose or fart in your cubicle. This is not how you make friends or impress your manager; maybe bring a bowl of candy instead. Cleanliness really does matter.

6.    Don’t act like you know it all. Booth does a great job of providing you with the foundations to be successful but that doesn’t mean you can tell your manager how to do his/her job better.

7.    Don’t be anti-social. Eat lunch with your teammates or other interns and join after-work events; remember there is a world outside of Booth and here is an opportunity to grow your LinkedIn network!

8.    Speaking of networking, don’t network with other firms while you are at work. This is a great way to not receive a job offer after the internship. After all, you wouldn’t want your significant other to find out you were still playing the field after you agreed to settle down (for at least your summer internship).

9.    Know your boundaries. Don’t expect to meet with the CEO one-on-one unless your project requires it. CEOs are typically busy people and likely have no idea who you are, so keep that in mind. If you want to meet with them, try and leverage your network to get you in the door.

10.  Don’t forget to have fun - it is still summertime and you should try to enjoy it!

Good luck! Don’t forget career services is always available to help!