How To Be an Excellent Intern

by Pritha Goswami, Sisarina's 2012 Summer Intern

An internship is a tool and an opportunity.

It is a crucial step in any career-minded individual’s path. As daunting as it can be to find, land, and be successful at an internship with no prior experience, do not fear! There are simple steps you can take to get all that you can out of an internship. After all, isn't getting the most out of our time all that anyone really wants in life?

The Search:

The internship search can be a long, arduous process but knowing what you want out of an internship and staying organized can go a long way in preventing you from tearing your hair out.

  • Before you begin your internship search, think about what your goals are and what kind of environment you want to work in. Think about your availability and if you’ll be able to take an unpaid internship or not.
  • Find companies and organizations in your chosen field and research them. With the internet at your fingertips its easy to get a feel for a company’s values, successes, and business model. Your school's career center is a great source for locating prospective employers.
  • Narrow your search down to a few places that fit your needs and wants, and apply as early as possible. If they do not provide a formal application process, call or e-mail them to find out what opportunities they have for interns and how you can apply.
  • Make sure your resume is updated and free of errors. Your resume is the first glimpse into who you are that a company will see and first impressions are important!

The Interview:

This is where you have to market yourself and giving a good impression in the short time you have is crucial. Follow these tips to ensure success.

  • Again, prepare, prepare, prepare! The more prepared you are, the more confident you are. Showing that you are knowledgable and confident is absolutely key in showing your interviewer that you will be an asset to their company.
  • Be ON TIME. Showing up late to an interview is sloppy and anything but fashionable. If it was avoidable, which in most cases it is, it shows that you don’t care and/or don’t manage your time well.
  • Dress professionally and be well groomed. “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman” - Coco Chanel.
  • Focus on accomplishments and any experience that is relevant and shows that you have transferable skills.
  • Make sure to follow up after your interview with an e-mail to reaffirm your interest in the internship.

Internship Acquired:

Now that you have secured your internship, follow these guidelines to get the most out of it.

  • Again, be punctual! Everyday. Just do it.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re there to learn and help and your employer knows that. It will also waste less time.
  • Take the opportunity to pick the brains of your co-workers/employers. Ask them questions about how they got where they are and the ins and outs of the career they chose.
  • Take note of the company culture and office atmosphere. This reflects on what the industry is like and can give you insight on whether this sort of work is right for you.
  • An internship is a chance to make valuable contacts for the future, so make use of networking opportunities.
  • Work hard and show that you’re willing to work and be actively involved. Ask to be a part of projects you find interesting and share your ideas.

Now, armed with these tips, you can get hunting. Happy Interning! :) 


Pritha Goswami is a Sisarina intern for the summer of 2012. She attends University of Maryland and majors in Economics. Follow her on Twitter at @p_gos

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