25 Short, Sweet Tips for Success as a Summer Intern

by Sarah Steenrod

While it seems like just yesterday (okay, so more like 13 years ago) I was an intern at Neiman Marcus in Las Vegas, the lessons I learned and experiences I had a during that pivotal time in my college and professional career are crystal clear. Here are some tips that will help make your internship a success:

  1. Set goals. Having personal and professional goals can help you make the most of your summer, stay on track, and know if you have achieved what you set out to do.
  2. Ask questions. An internship is a learning process and you may need to seek clarification along the way.
  3. Participate in all intern and company activities that you are invited to. It’s a great way to meet fellow interns and people at the company who are investing their time in your experience.
  4. Share your ideas. People want to know what you think, so speak up!
  5. If you finish your work, ask for more. By taking initiative, you may end up with an awesome project or learning experience.
  6. Pack your lunch. You’ll save money and calories. It’s absolutely fine to join your colleagues and treat yourself to lunch every once in a while, but you will thank yourself at the end of the summer if you don’t blow your paychecks on takeout sushi.
  7. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Always be sure to follow the dress code. Make sure your clothes are clean, neat, and pressed
  8. Get a good night’s rest. If you’re used to going to bed at 2 a.m., the sound of the alarm at 6 a.m. is going to be a rude awakening (literally and figuratively). No one at your workplace will care if you’re tired, so don’t look or act tired.
  9. Consider your internship a three-month interview. This is your opportunity to make the most of each day with the potential of getting a job offer at the end.
  10. Ask people if you can be of help to them. You might think you don’t have a lot to offer, but perhaps one of your colleagues has a child that is considering your university and would love to hear your perspective.
  11. Explore the city…and the food. If you’re in Cleveland, don’t miss the West Side Market and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. St. Louis is famous for fried ravioli. In Houston, be sure to try the BBQ.
  12. Exercise. Take a brisk walk, ride a bike, run, do yoga! Do whatever you like, just get moving!
  13. Drink water. That’s what the water coolers are for! Eight 8-ounce glasses day is what’s recommended, but if that sounds like a lot, just start with a couple glasses a day. It also helps to get a water bottle that you really like.
  14. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, find a way to fix it, and move on. Don’t make excuses.
  15. Connect with alumni from your school. Use your university’s alumni club. Tap into the LinkedIn Find Alumni tool.
  16. Check in regularly with your parents, family members, and friends and let them know how your internship is going….they will appreciate it.
  17. Say please. It’s amazing how many people will be willing to help you if you ask nicely.
  18. Follow all computer rules and lock your computer when you step away from your desk. Also, if your company has a social media policy, refrain from posting on Facebook during work hours.
  19. Ask for feedback. Some supervisors will be good at giving you positive and constructive feedback, while others may be less forthcoming. If they know it’s important to you, they may be more likely to give it.
  20. Avoid office gossip. If someone talks about others to you, they are probably talking about you to others.
  21. Pay attention to your experiences, reflect on them, and jot down a few notes. Your worst on-the-job experience may someday be your best interview story. The trick is remembering all the details.
  22. Wear sunscreen. Seriously
  23. Be present and enjoy the experience!
  24. Keep in touch. Don’t wait until you need something to e-mail your former supervisor. Send an e-mail every once in a while to check in and let them know how you’re doing.
  25. Thank people and let them know how they impacted your life and career. A handwritten note is a very nice touch.

Sarah Steenrod is Director of Undergraduate Career Consultation and Programs in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship

By Kaitlin Bressler, Undergraduate Career Consultant

With summer right around the corner, there is no better time than the present to determine how you will make the most of the journey you are about to embark on. Here are some tips to help you be most successful before, during, and after your internship.

Preparing for your Summer Internship:

Set Personal Goals

Before your summer internship, write a list of goals you hope to achieve over the summer. These goals can be work related, such as completing a certain type of project, or these could even be some personal goals you’ve set for yourself. For example, getting out of your comfort zone, or simply meeting new people and creating new relationships this summer. It’s a good idea to document these goals so that you can go back at the end of your internship and do some self-reflecting and hopefully realize that you’ve grown a lot throughout the course of your internship experience.

Seek out Alumni

It is always a good idea to reach out to alumni at your organization, or even just in your city so you have someone you can look to as a resource. Before you begin your internship, set up an initial coffee or lunch meeting. Have a list of good conversation starters prepared for when you meet up, such as “How did you originally find your position?” or “What do you enjoy the most about working at _____?” This person will likely be a great resource or mentor for you, especially if you are moving to a new city for your internship.

Dress Successfully

Make sure you know the office dress code expectations for the summer. If dress is business professional, you will want to make sure you’re prepared with the appropriate attire before the summer internship starts. Companies have different dress policies, so it’s a good idea to reach out to your HR representative to make sure you’re aware of the company dress policies before you start the internship.

Things to Consider During your Internship:

First Impressions/Confidence

It’s always important to maintain a good first impression. Make sure to be on time, and always be prompt to meetings, even if everyone else is not. During your internship it is important to remember that you are being observed under a magnifying glass, so try to minimize errors, but realize it is always ok to ask for help or clarification on projects. Try to find opportunities to contribute your ideas in group meetings, and find a way to be indispensable.

Track your Internship Projects

It is a good idea to keep track of all the projects you work on this summer. Good documentation of these assignments will help you in the future to remember what exactly you worked on (which will come in handy during future resume writing or interviewing).

Solicit Feedback

Make sure you have frequent check-in meetings with your internship supervisor and seek out feedback on your goals and achievements. Knowing your progress will help you be a more successful professional in the long run.

Handling Social Situations

Build the right kind of reputation by maintaining a high level of professionalism throughout the summer internship. Make an effort to get to know many people at your internship location this summer, and try to be friendly and open when communicating with colleagues or peers.

Stay in Touch with Internship Contacts

Staying in touch with contacts is extremely valuable. You never know when you will need a good recommendation, or need to consult someone about a new project you are working on. Because past colleagues can be great resources or references, it is good to maintain relationships so you can reach out to them if you’re ever in need.

8 Things I Wish I Would Have Known as a Freshman…

By Lindsay Bodenhoff, Career Coach

1. Get involved early! Ohio State is one of the largest universities in the nation and has organizations for every interest. Do you love grilling out and eat ribs? Buckeye Barbeque Qlub is calling your name! You’re passionate about health and fitness? Join CHAARG and learn about new work outs! Fisher also has organizations for almost all specializations and interests. Find something you’re passionate about and stick with it- you’ll meet people, have fun, and hopefully gain leadership experience.

2. Research professors and ask other opinions prior to enrolling in their class. Professors can make all the difference, so it’s important to find ones who can benefit you the most. 14 weeks is a long time to spend in a class you’re not enjoying.

3. Student discounts are awesome. Businesses love college students! There are so many student discounts available and worth searching for. Did you know that you can see a movie at Gateway for $6.50 with your BuckID? Even stores like J Crew and Apple offer student discounts. College is expensive and these deals can make a big difference!

help me, i'm poor

4. Learn the tunnels throughout Fisher! Did you know Schoenbaum, Mason, Gerlach, and Fisher Hall are all connected by underground tunnels? Learn early on to avoid walking in the rain or snow!

5. Sleep and be healthy. You need it. Stop trying to pull all-nighters. It’s not healthy and it makes you less productive. Make time to work out and try to eat healthy when you can- the freshman 15 is no joke…seriously.

sleep or drink coffee

6. Yes, you actually have to study and be organized to do well. More important than anything, study and keep up with your classes. If you aren’t doing well in school, re-evaluate your schedule. It is so much more difficult to improve your GPA as a junior than it is to start off well freshman year. Trust me, classes will get harder.

7. Start thinking about internships early on. I was baffled when sophomore year hit and students started talking about internships and the career fair immediately in September. Don’t be that person. Research internships and plan to have at least one under your belt before graduation!

8. Treat yourself! You got an A on your Computer Science exam? You deserve that Chipotle burrito and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

 treat yo self

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to take that Buckeye Pride into your interview…

Last week, the Fisher Futures class was given the opportunity to listen to Jeff Rice, the executive director of the Office of Career Management. While there were many “pearls of wisdom” in his talk, the single most important piece of advice he gave us was to remain confident in the job search and to take pride in ourselves as Buckeyes. As we prepare for our futures and begin to journey toward internships, interviews, and other challenges, it is very important to keep in mind Jeff’s message of confidence building. Often times, we will be competing with students from other schools who misguidedly believe they have the upper hand in competing with us and we need to keep Jeff’s thoughts in mind and maintain our internal self-confidence regarding the quality of our school and Fisher College of Business.

Fisher is a premier business school, recognized by Businessweek as the 34th and 12th best public business school for undergraduate and graduate studies, respectively. Beyond that, Businessweek states we are the 9th best worldwide for the executive MBA. Our business school produces CEOs of companies and leaders around the globe. These statistics and confidence builders are so important to remember as we go forth. Jeff was very astute in telling the Fisher Futures class that, as Buckeyes, we must be proud and understand there is no geographical constraint to our job search and the opportunities are infinite.

Katherine Stith – Fisher Futures Program

Quick formatting tricks to keep your resume to one page!

Many students will come in to career coaching with a two page resume and no idea how to fix it.  Their first thought may be to eliminate some of their less business relevant experiences or pick and choose what they think is the most important to keep.  But I look at many resumes and contrary to popular belief, the second page can usually be avoided just by using some formatting tricks!  These are a few of the easiest formatting secrets to make sure your resume is one page and still full of your great experiences!

Margins:

First things first, you do not have to conform to one inch margins like most of your school papers will require.  The margins can be much smaller, mine are at 0.5 all around.  I can’t tell you how much more room you gain for your accomplishments this way.  Sometimes a larger margin up top or around the sides can even give your resume the false illusion that you are missing something.

Font Sizes:

Fonts can be smaller than point 12 Times New Roman!  I know it goes against everything you have learned in English class, but I recommend having between 10 point and 12 point.  Any larger will probably be too big, and any smaller and the resume may look too busy and recruiters will have to squint to read it.  Making the font even a little bit smaller might make your two line bullet point into one line and give you the space you need.

Contact Information:

Keeping your contact information to one line helps so much.  A lot of students come in struggling to make room for all of their internships and activities, but I see that they have a permanent address, local address, and then two lines for email and phone. By containing all information to one line below the name, you save so much room! Why take up space for contact info when you could be highlighting on your newest internship that you are excited about?

High School Activities:

Once you have gotten involved in tons of new exciting organizations, clubs, and job opportunities in college, it is time to take off those high school activities and education!  This is a pivotal moment in your undergraduate college career, when you have so many cool college experiences that you don’t have room for high school clubs anymore on your 1 page resume.  Many students will at first be nervous about taking high school education or sports off of their resume, maybe because it was such a big part of their lives, but trust me, when you are running out of space on a resume, those things should usually be the first to go.  Granted there are exceptions to that rule, but for the most part, recruiters like to hear and see what you have been up to at OSU.

Transfer Credit: 

Transfer credit is also something that can be reformatted to fit the one page requirement.  Many students believe that you have to format your college transfer credit the same way as your OSU education section, but this is not the case.

If you have actually received a degree from the previous institution, you would want to format it that way, but if it is just transfer credit you might even confuse recruiters into thinking you have received a previous degree if you format it that way.  A better way is a quick bullet point explanation. This easily condenses your education section so you have more room for leadership, work, and extracurricular activities.

Need some help?

For additional tips and tricks when formatting your resume, see a career coach during walk-in hours: http://fisher.osu.edu/offices/career-management/student-resources/undergraduate/career-coaches/

Jill Spohn – Career Coach