Tips and Suggestions
Below are general tips and suggestions regarding the internship experience. Please view the links provided below for more detailed tips and suggestions.
PRIOR TO APPLYING
Start early. Plan to begin at least one semester prior to the time you plan to start your internship and two semesters prior if you would like experiences outside St. Louis. Make sure you read the step-by-step process page.
Begin networking and stay current in your field Use the helpful links page to find lists of websites related to your industry that may help you during your search process.
Become a professional online:
- Google yourself and check your social networking sites. Make sure they are set to private and/or that you don’t have any photos or information posted that is not appropriate for a potential employer to view
- Consider your e-mail address. Make sure it is professional and easy (such as your first and last name). If you’d like to have a creative or unique e-mail address, that is okay for some industries, but make sure it is still professional
- Get connected. For example, create a LinkedIn page. Using online outlets such as this is a great way to network
Brand yourself. Everything that a potential employer sees needs to be branded. This includes your résumé, cover letter, business cards, reference page, online and physical portfolio, etc. You should use the same fonts, design, headers and footers and contact information (i.e.: give the same e-mail address and phone number on all pieces).
Apply to multiple positions. As you apply to positions, you get your name out there and also learn more about different organizations. The more you apply, the more you begin networking professionally.
Apply through e-mail: Most organizations will ask you to send your résumé and cover letter through e-mail. When applying for an internship this way, remember to be professional and use the right tone. We tend to be much more informal on the Web. Don’t take this attitude too far when applying for an internship.
Applying through an online application program: When applying to a larger company you may be asked to fill out an online application and send your materials through a database. Have your application materials ready to go to make this process smooth.
No matter which way you apply (through an online program, e-mail, mail, etc.), remember to keep your application formal. It is important to ALWAYS follow the directions stated on the position description in regards to application. Specific directions trump the suggestions provided by The Center.
View the tips and suggestions page for further tips on applying to an internship. You will find tips and suggestions on resumes, portfolios, interviews, etc.
DURING THE INTERNSHIP
Treat the internship like you would any job. Show up on time every time you are scheduled to work; dress appropriately and professionally; act mature and responsible; etc.
Show enthusiasm, passion and stay positive. Show your supervisor and other people in the organization that you are excited to be there working with them. Smile and say thank you when given new projects and opportunities. Every task you are given is experience for you to add to a resume or portfolio to gain knowledge.
Work independently, yet be ready to ask questions as opposed to completing a task incorrectly.
Be self-disciplined and meet all deadlines on or ahead of time. Sometimes you may be juggling multiple projects. Figure out which one is most important and ensure to get them all completed when needed.
Communicate! You have to be able to talk with your supervisor about projects, time-management, priorities and your performance.
Be a self-starter. If you have down time, seek out projects. Ask your supervisor first, then see if it is okay to ask others in the organizations if they could use your assistance. While you wait for projects to come in, explore the organization’s website, marketing materials, etc. in depth.
Network. Now is your chance to network with not only your supervisor, but every other employee with a related field in the organization. Talking to people and letting them know your interests and goals will allow them to get to know you better and may lead to a new opportunity. Set up networking opportunities with people in the organization and be social in general.