What My First Internship Taught Me
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What My First Internship Taught Me

Lessons learned before, during and after.

What My First Internship Taught Me
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Be persistent when searching for an internship.

The daunting task of finding an internship seemed impossible to me at first, but one thing I learned is that persistence is key. Don’t just sit back and wait for an opportunity to come to you; you truly have to put yourself out there and make a conscious effort to find a place to pursue. Use all of your resources, make cold calls and be prompt and thorough throughout the application process. Don’t just wing an interview; prepare for it thoroughly and handle yourself professionally.

Understand what you’re getting yourself into.

While most first-time interns are desperate for any experience they can get, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Understand the full job description and what will be required of you so you don’t suddenly find yourself stuck in a position you’re not prepared for or that you greatly dislike.

Ask lots of questions when interviewing.

During my interview, I felt like I should be the one answering all of the questions, but asking questions is a crucial part of the interview process. Not only should they be seeing if you are a good fit as their employee, but you need to be sure that the company is a good fit for you as well. Also, asking questions during an interview shows you are truly interested in the company and that you have the ability to take initiative.

Understand the time commitment.

I originally thought around 25-30 hours a week sounded easy to accomplish, but I quickly learned that with this specific job these hours felt extremely long and burdensome. With a short summer and a position that required me sitting and staring at a computer all day, I found myself hating the long eight-hour days. I also failed to consider the random days we would get off for holidays and unexpected sick days, and ended up wishing I had signed up for a shorter time commitment.


Know how to answer a phone and handle a client professionally.

I quickly learned that professional phone skills were essential to my position as an intern. After some critique from my internship adviser, and lots of practice, I feel I have mastered how to handle a client or caller in a professional manner.

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

I found myself constantly asking questions, and feeling reluctant and unsure as to whether I was asking too many, but my internship adviser actually praised me on this quality. I’ve learned that if you’re ever unsure on what you’re supposed to be doing, always ask the necessary questions until you fully understand the instructions. It’s always better to ask first rather than do the entire task wrong.

Go the extra mile.

I learned that doing all the little extra things such as showing up early, always asking what more you can do, presenting yourself professionally, etc. goes a long way.

Ask for feedback.

An internship is a learning experience; ask for feedback on your work and then take all critiques and learn from them.


Use your internship experience as a learning experience for what you want out of your next internship or job.

Recognize what you liked and disliked about the experience so that you can hone in on what you want out of your future career.

Maintain connections.

Start the internship strong and end the internship strong. Don’t fizzle out at the end, work hard until the very last day and leave a good impression. Maintain positive relationships with the people you worked with for future networking opportunities.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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