5 Things Your Internship Boss Wants You to Know

You get good grades, work hard and have a laundry list of extracurricular activities to fill your resume. However, in today’s growing job market, relevant work experience is crucial, and that’s where having a summer internship comes in handy. Through an internship, you gain valuable hands-on experience and get real world exposure, while having the liberty to learn along the way. However, don’t let this incredible opportunity go to waste. Know what role you’re stepping into and what is expected of you. Here are five things your summer internship boss wishes you knew before you started your internship.

1. Be prepared

It may seem like a no-brainer, but treat the first day of your internship like it’s the first day of a new job. Learn the company’s history, know the professional background of your boss and bring your best self to the table. This includes not only your work ethic, but also your attitude. Don’t bring problems to your boss, until you have at least one solution to offer. And above all else, use this opportunity as a chance to sharpen your networking and communication skills.

2. Communication is important

Being the new girl anywhere can be hard. You’re not sure if you’re asking too many questions or not enough. However, to learn, you have to make mistakes, and learning to communicate with those around you will only help you grow. Kristen Perrone, a senior at Siena College, was fortunate enough to have an internship at a company that encouraged communication. “I was lucky to work in a very friendly and casual office setting," she says. "My boss was always checking in on me to make sure I had enough to do and that I was comfortable working there! I definitely wish I would have known that there was no reason to freak out about working with older and more experienced people because they were there to help me and make this experience as worthwhile as possible!” Don’t feel afraid to speak up and ask for help. Communication is the backbone of any good relationship.

3. Don’t make excuses

While speaking up when you’re not sure of what to do is important, don’t make excuses for your mistakes. You’re learning and your internship boss is aware of that. Morgan Mock, an assurance staff member and internship advisor at Ernest & Young, says, “Many interns, myself included when I was an intern, feel that they need to perform every task perfectly. When we review their work, they end up taking our comments personally when really we're just trying to coach them and help them understand the process. Basically, interns need to realize they won't be perfect and that it's oftentimes better for their development if they make mistakes and ask questions.” Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes but own up to them. In the end, your humility will help you stand out.

Related: 7 Signs You're Slacking Off at Your Internship

4. It might be summer, but this is not a vacation

While, you may start to develop some serious FOMO as your girlfriends start posting their perfectly filtered beach selfies, remember why you’re here. This summer internship is your chance to help you get a head start on your post-college plans and above all else, give you an edge on the competition in the job market. Remain professional and show up every day with the same excitement and fervor you had on the first day.

5. Take charge when you can

It may be easy to get hung up on the fact that you’re simply an intern, but no boss will ever complain about you putting in extra work. When the opportunity presents itself, take advantage of the extra hours. Hannah Herman, intern advisor and content and social media associate at Workato, says, “I wish they’d known before taking the role that interns are just as capable as anyone. Most people, I think, have this idea that an internship is mostly scut work—data entry, fetching coffee and such. But the truth is that—at least where I work—interns are expected to contribute. And they do; they make a lot of invaluable contributions, because we trust them enough to give them real responsibilities. If you treat interns as capable adults, they'll step up to the plate and be...well, capable adults.”  

By using your summer vacation as an opportunity to gain valuable work experience, you’re already showing your internship boss your level of drive and determination. Take that same work ethic you had when you applied for the position, and apply it to the internship. And as always, good luck collegiettes!