Tips for internship success: The do’s and don’ts list


We all know the basics, don’t sleep on the job, don’t play on Facebook, always be on time, etc. But what about the more intricate details of adulting on the job? When I started my internship, I had never worked in the “corporate world” and I was a bit lost on office etiquette. Luckily with great managers and an amazing team, I caught on fairly quickly.

Since summer is intern season, I thought I’d pass along some tips I’ve learned along the way.  Want to nail your internship? This list of Do’s and Don’ts will help lead you down the path to success this summer.

Do: Set realistic goals

It’s important to have an idea about what you want out of your internship. Your ideas should be realistic like learning a new programming skill or improving your writing skills, not diffusing a bomb. Talk with your manager about what you want to gain from this experience, and ask what their expectations are too. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.” So get your mind right, set some goals, and get moving!

Do: Be a sponge

I’m so lucky to be a part of a company that believes strongly in education and continuous learning. Learn as much as you can whether it’s in a class, online or from your colleagues – soak it all up. At SAS, I’m lucky to have access to many resources including amazing online tutorials, like (one of my favorites), to keep me updated on the latest technology and trends.

Don’t: Be arrogant

This may seem like an obvious one, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. While we do have a lot to bring to the table, your manager and coworkers have been around the block a time or two. And they can share a lot of advice about the corporate culture and job.  Sometimes – ok, let’s be honest, most of the time- the best way to learn, is to listen.

Do: Just keep swimming

My mom always says, “If you learn to love doing what everyone else hates, you will always have a job.” Now this doesn’t mean you should hate what you do, but being an intern may involve some tactical work. We all have to earn our stripes, so having a good attitude even when the work is tedious shows initiative and professionalism. So just keep swimming.

Do: Network like a pro

Networking may seem scary, but it’s one of the best ways to meet new people and build relationships. SAS offers its interns many opportunities to meet other young professionals so there’s no reason not to take advantage of this.  I love the team building events because they are so fun, and such a great way to work together with my fellow interns.  Your first event may be nerve wracking, but go for it and meet new people. A good network can help you get answers to important questions, and who knows ….maybe  even land you that dream job.

Don’t: Be a slacker

Usually around mid-July the heat sets in, and all anybody wants to do is go to the beach. Don’t start slacking! Keep your head in the game and give your internship everything you’ve got. The beach will be there on the weekends. Keep pushing yourself the be the best, and others will notice!

Do: Have fun!

Go to events and meet other interns and young professionals. Set up a group lunch, or start a GroupMe to arrange meet ups after work. Is there an area of the business you’re interested in learning more about? Ask someone in that area to grab coffee. But most importantly, whatever you do - have a blast!


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Elaina Cain


Elaina Cain is a Business Administration Student from NC State, (Go Pack)!

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