Do: Speak up. Contribute ideas and suggestions during meetings. You’ll gain more respect as a professional and lose the “just an intern” title. Also, you never know when your creativity might inspire something great!
Don’t: Be pushy, whiney, rude or cocky. If your boss isn’t as taken with your suggestion as you would have hoped, suck it up and move on to the next idea. Pushing, complaining and eye-rolling won’t sound too great when a potential employer calls your internship advisor for a recommendation.
Do: Listen to all feedback, good AND bad. We all like to hear positive things about ourselves and what we’re doing correctly, but negative feedback can be just as important. Use negative responses to learn what you need to focus on or do differently the next time.
Don’t: Be too hard on yourself, or too confident. Taking a negative comment too personally can be damaging to your performance and your confidence, a very essential tool to being professional. However, thinking that there’s no possible way you could’ve made an error will prevent you from improving your work in the future.
Do: Utilize all of your resources. Your boss, co-workers, human resources, these people all have experience in things you need to know about for your career. Pick their brains. Have lunch with co-workers and make yourself a familiar part of the company.
Don’t: Hide in the corner. Sitting silently hoping to get an assignment will get you nowhere. You must speak up. Ask for a wide variety of assignments at a consistent pace. The sole purpose of your internship is to learn as much as you possibly can in the time you have, so be sure to give yourself every opportunity!
What else would you add to this list?
About the Author Christina Starr is a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter via @c_c_starr.