The following tips will help you maximize your internship experience:
Establish at least two or three clear learning objectives; set parameters and goals
and discuss them with your supervisor
Show initiative; ask, don’t wait, for projects to be given to you. Avoid being underused!
Speak up if the work is not meeting your goals
Demonstrate maturity and exceed your supervisor’s expectations
Keep an open mind; avoid jumping to conclusions; develop informed opinions
Be observant; note how employees organize their ideas and respond to and ask questions
Be fair, considerate, honest, trustworthy and cooperative when dealing with co-workers
Assert yourself and your ideas in an appropriate and tactful manner
Seek feedback from your supervisor(s), accept suggestions for corrective changes in
behavior and attempt to improve your performance
Accept constructive criticism and continuously strive to improve and to grow professionally
Enhance your professional effectiveness by improving skills and acquiring new knowledge
Reflection is a strategy that sets internships apart from part-time jobs. Reflecting
helps students understand and articulate what they have discovered about themselves
and about their skills, values, career and personal interests. It also helps students
make informed decisions about their career choices and their place in the world of
Students who earn academic credit for their internships will be expected to complete
some form of reflective assignment(s) such as maintaining a journal, conducting informational
interviews or writing a reflective paper. If you are not earning credit, we urge you
to maintain a journal and assess your learning experience both during and at the conclusion
of your internship.
Sample reflection questions
How did your experience meet your initial expectations, perceptions and attitudes
about the work and the organization?
Did you encounter significant problems or obstacles and, if so, how did you overcome
or resolve them?
What did you discover about your own knowledge, skills, abilities, values and interests?
What was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience? What was your greatest
As a result of this experience, how did your self-awareness change about your ability
to communicate? Make appropriate communication choices or decisions? Make career choices
or decisions? Exhibit a sense of responsibility and maturity? Respond to social issues?
How has this experience affected your choice of major/career interest (confirmed,
changed, raised questions)?
What did you learn from your mentor/supervisor or others in the organization?
Worksite supervisors and other professionals at the internship site can provide additional
insight into the company, the profession and the world of work. Conducting an informational interview (PDF) allows students to obtain valuable information about careers, employers, industries,
and the job market while improving interview skills and increasing self-confidence.
An informational interview is brief (about 15-20 minutes), less formal and lacks the
stress of a job interview.