During Your Internship


Please refer to the Pomerantz Career Center Student Internship Handbook for advice on how to be professional, network, identify and manage challenges and leave a good impression. 


Tips for Your First Day

  • Dress to impress

  • Plan ahead - Get plenty of sleep. Arrive early - know which bus to take, account for traffic etc. Be sure you know where you are supposed to check-in etc.

  • Write it down - Bring a notebook and a pen and write down as much as you can (names, titles, advice etc.) so you don't forget it later.

  • Ask Questions - It shows you are taking this seriously and want to succeed.

  • Keep your phone on silent - Don't take personal calls or glance at your phone throughout the day. Set your phone on silent that morning.


Making the Most of Your Internship

  • Set personal goals

    • Begin your internship with an idea of areas you would like to learn more about, skills you would like to build on and people you would like to meet.

    • Set realistic and attainable goals. See how to Create Smart Goals

    • Keep in mind that your goals will probably change as you progress through the internship.

  • Have regular meetings with your supervisor
    These meetings are a great time to -

    • Ask questions about dress code, work hours or other office policies
    • Clarify expectations and goals
    • Ask for feedback and direction- what are you doing right and what could you use some more work on?
    • Take the initiative – if your supervisor isn’t scheduling regular meetings with you, request that they be scheduled
  • Maintain a positive attitude and be professional. Have fun!

    • Approach all tasks with enthusiasm and professionalism - even if you see them as being insignificant. Your ability to successfully complete these menial tasks may be a stepping stone to more responsibility within the office

    • Say no to negativity! Avoid complaining, being rude, disrespecting your co-workers, and/or not performing your tasks on-time.

    • Treat everyone in the office with respect. A common mistake among interns and new employees is to treat the secretaries and clerks as beneath them – don’t do this! They are often the backbone of the organization.

  • Immerse yourself – take initiative – do your best work

    • Work closely with your supervisor – share your successes and try not to over-step your boundaries.

    • If you finish projects and have nothing else to do, ask your supervisor and/or other members of your department if they have additional work for you.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions

    • It will not reflect poorly on you if you ask questions. In fact, it shows that you are interested in doing the best job possible. An internship is a learning experience and while your employer expects certain things from you, they do not expect you to know everything.

    • Seek advice and ask questions whenever you need clarification.

  • Network! Take advantage of the opportunities that are offered

    • Finding a mentor within the organization is a major key to a successful internship. A mentor should be your supervisor and/or someone else within the organization who you can speak openly with about your goals. They should be a resource for questions and someone who can help you develop your skills and foster relationships within the organization.

    • Socialize and go out of your way to meet employees in various departments.

    • Take advantage of the opportunities that are offered – try to attend as many company meetings, conferences and events as you can.

  • Keep track of your accomplishments
    Start a journal to help you keep track of your accomplishments throughout the internship. This will help you update your resume and/or create or update your portfolio.

  • Leave on a positive note
    Be sure to thank everyone who helped you. Write a formal thank you letter to your supervisor.

Safety at Your Internship

Some companies and organizations will have trainings or provide guidance during your orientation that covers their anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and ethics policies.  Others may not.

If something makes you uncomfortable with others' ethics or behavior at your internship, and you do not feel comfortable talking to Human Resources about it, do not hesitate to contact guidance on campus.  Discrimination, harassment, aggression and illegal behavior do not belong in the workplace.

Potential people to contact for guidance include:

Your internship course instructor:   Not sure if something is serious or not?  Your instructor can help you navigate who to talk to at your internship site or on campus, and/or provide coaching on what to say.  Please note this is not a confidential resource –if your concerns involve sexual harassment or assault, we will also connect you with the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator.

Pomerantz Career Center (319-335-1023):  Ask to speak to the Associate Director of Experiential Education. Similar to your instructor they can help you navigate who to talk to at your internship site or on campus, and/or provide coaching on what to say.  Please note this is not a confidential resource –if your concerns involve sexual harassment or assault, we will also connect you with the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator

Student Legal Services (319-335-3276):  Student Legal Services can help you understand your rights in a situation as well as what contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and non-compete clauses cover.

Office of Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator (319-335-6200): The Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator (OSMRC) provides a central place to report incidents, works with victims or complainants to ensure their wishes are understood and inform the process,  helps them connect with confidential resources and victim advocates, and can facilitate academic accommodations.

The Office of the Ombudsperson (319-335-3608):  The Office of the Ombudsperson is a safe place to talk about any concerns, including but not limited to sexual harassment or misconduct, discrimination, violation of policies, and unethical behavior.  This is a confidential resource unless you disclose plans to hurt yourself or others.

Local or University police (319-335-5022): If you are in immediate danger, call 911.