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Life > Experiences

The Best Career Advice From My Summer Internship

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Manhattan chapter.

When you enter a new work environment and start an internship or an entry-level position, regardless of your industry or the department you’re working with, everyone has the same role; to be a sponge. This means learning as much as you can and soaking up as much information as possible. 

One way to expand your learning experience in this new environment is by seeking career advice from those who have done it already. From corporate executives to mid-level employees who are still fairly early in their careers, everyone has taken a different path to get to where they are today.  People love talking about themselves, so don’t be afraid to ask them! 

Here is the best advice I received for internships, entry level jobs, and early careers from my summer internship program. 

Sell yourself.

Everyone starts somewhere. Apply for positions even if you don’t meet every single detail of the listed qualifications, and play to your strengths on your cover letter or resume. Explain how those skills are transferable and why they make you a desirable candidate. 

Know your place, but also know your worth.

If you’re an intern or an entry-level employee, you may literally be starting at the bottom. You’re answering to managers and being told what to do. Learn to be a good employee, but also know you’re totally allowed to speak up and speak your mind. 

It’s okay to roll up your sleeves and do the busy work for a while. 

Your first few months to years of your career may not be the most exciting time in the office. And that’s okay!  You’re learning the basics of the job and getting your feet on the ground. Remember that doing the busy work won’t last forever.

Choosing a career is not like choosing a college; you don’t need to get it right the first or second time. 

This is a big one! People switch paths, industries, companies, or departments all the time. Just because you get a degree in something specific or start off in one industry doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. You have time to figure it out early on, and there’s nothing set in stone that says you have to stick to one job forever. 

Be a personable professional. 

Someone once told me that you should treat your entire internship like an interview, but I disagree. Should you really be nervous, stiff, kind of sweaty, and on edge during your entire internship? Probably not.

Professionalism always comes first, but you also want to show what makes you unique. When it’s appropriate, talk about your interests beyond work.  Do your work, but when you’re having lunch or in the elevator, it’s okay to talk about music, your pets, your hobbies, or a cool trip you went on. You’re an employee, but you’re also an interesting person with a story! So share it! So keep it professional, but show your personality and let it shine through. 

Jocelyn Visnov

Manhattan '24

Jocelyn is a communication major studying journalism and advertising at Manhattan College. She's the Editor-in-Chief for The Quadrangle Newspaper and previously served as a Creative Director and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Manhattan. Jocelyn aspires to pursue a career in advertising with a special interest in creative direction and campaigns. She is a passionate writer who is always on the go, but never without an iced coffee in hand!