A Day in the Life of an HR Intern

What is a typical day for an HR Intern at a medium-sized company? Hopefully this will give you an idea of what my work day looks like as well as what projects I’m tackling.

I generally set my alarm for 6:30AM, which gives me plenty of time to play on my phone until I actually need to start getting ready. I try to be out the door by 7:15 but can leave as late as 7:45 to still be at work by 8AM. My department tends to get to work pretty early and not many people stay past 4:30 so I’ve shifted my schedule to maximize that time.

When I get to work, I always write out what meetings I have for the day and any projects I know I need to work on. Things always get added to this list as the day goes on but it’s a good start to planning what I’ll be spending my time on. Today, I really need to finish up a task that has taken me about a week of on/off work to do. My team is working on transitioning from one applicant tracking system (ATS) to another one that will be more integrated with our other processes. I’ve been doing various tasks to help with this but today I’m exporting all of our job descriptions from the past three years so they’re available after we discontinue service with old system.

At 9AM, I need to head over to our other location (only 3 minutes away by car) to set up for a fundraiser that I’m running. Highlights has a Pelotonia team and each intern is partnering with a business leader to help fundraise for our riders. I actually have two teams that I’m working with, so you might hear more about my second project later in the summer. The one I’m starting today is a campaign called #WhatsYourArrow that encourages our employees to design their own Pelotonia arrow and submit it with a five-dollar donation. We’re planning to raffle off Amazon gift cards to those that participate. By the time I write this post 24 hours later, I’ve already raised $130!

After I set up for that, I head back to my desk and finish some outstanding projects that I’m working on. One is making a checklist of tasks for new-hires to complete in their first few days and weeks after their start date. Another project I’m doing supports some employer branding efforts that we’re working on. Highlights for Children has a few different companies under their umbrella and I’m auditing all of their social media accounts to see which companies are represented and where. While I’m working on all of this, I take a thirty-minute lunch break at my desk. We can take up to an hour for lunch and a lot of people go out to eat, but I like to pack my lunch and listen to a podcast. I still end up going out for food with people from work about once a week though. There are a bunch of great restaurants in the Grandview Heights area and I love having a reason to eat at them more often.

At 3 o’clock, the whole HR team has a bi-weekly meeting, so I join them in our conference room. I really enjoy these meetings because it gives me more exposure to some of the projects that everyone is working on, and I usually walk out with something new to help with. After the meeting, everyone disperses, and I use my last hour to get started on the PowerPoint that I’ll be presenting at the end of my internship. Our CEO and business leaders will be there, so I’m trying to make it as informative and engaging as possible.

At about 5:15, I head out for the day. It’s raining so I skip my run and watch YouTube videos instead. Anybody else feel like YouTube is better than cable? Just me?

Hopefully this gave some good insight to what a day at the office looks like and an idea of what projects HR interns might work on. It really varies by company (and especially by company size!) but I get to have a hand in a lot of different things and that’s been a great experience so far.

A Relatively Normal Internship Day

Thankfully most of my days at Cisco have variation. With the multiple projects I work on, to the different events that happen, I am almost always busy. I will walk you through a relatively normal day of my internship.

6:30 am   I try to wake up early, though lately the snooze button has gotten the best of me. I get ready for the day and make breakfast which has consisted of eggs, bacon, toast and orange juice. It is great eating breakfast like this in the morning, because it is not something I would never take the time to do at home.

7:30 am  I leave to drive to work around this time if my roommate and I are ready. It takes about 20-25 minutes to drive from our home in Durham to Cisco.

8:00am   I arrive at work early because my roommate that I drive, who does not have a car, wants to get to work at 8. My team usually does not get in until 8:30-9am, though the past week or so they have been in earlier because it was our year-end close on July 29th.  When I get into the office, I usually go over my emails first to see if there is anything important or anything someone has asked me to do. About half of the days there is something in my inbox that is of relevance to me. After checking my emails, I check my calendar to see what I have to do that day, and then I grab coffee from the break room.

9:00 am  More people trickle into the office and I am working on my project for my Sales and Services Finance team. I have done a few different excel projects that lasted over a few weeks, along with a project on compliance. I usually ask my manager if there is anything she needs from me, and, if not, I continue to work on my projects.

11:00 am We also have an intern team project that we complete for the company that is not finance-specific, like our job. There are 4 of us in a group and we meet to work on our project outside of our meetings without our project manager and mentor. We try to get as much done as we can and set up the schedule for how our meeting will go later.

12:00pm Most interns and rotational program employees go to lunch. We have to walk for five minutes to get to the closest cafeteria which is two buildings over. Every once in awhile we go out to a restaurant for lunch.

1:00 pm  When I get back from lunch, I either work on my projects or have a meeting with my intern project team. We meet for an hour, two days a week, so that our manager and mentor can make sure we are still on track and help us where we need guidance.

2:00 pm  As an intern, people want to meet and talk to you. A lot of the interns set up meetings with other interns’ managers and people in the rotational program. I set up meetings with managers whose positions are interesting to me, people in the rotational program I have not had the time to get to know yet, and people in the San Jose office because I am interested in moving to that office. I am not someone who can set up meetings with everyone just for the sake of networking. To network well, it is important to get something out of your meeting. If it gets to the point where you have so many meetings that you are not learning something or able to keep people separate in your mind, you may be meeting too many people in too short of a time.

3:00 pm  At this point, I will go back to my desk and write down what my meeting was about and what I learned. Then, I will finish my projects for the day.

4:00 pm I will wrap up my work and ask my boss if there is anything else I can help with. I usually end up catching up with some people on my team that have been busy working all day.

4:30 pm I go to Cisco’s gym which is really nice and cheap for employees. There are a lot of work out classes that I enjoy going to like Tabata, Cardio Kickboxing and Barre. It is a great way to end the work day and get moving after being stagnant most of the day.

6:00 pm Finally home for the day!

My intern project team after our training presentation

A Day in the Life: Summer Intern Edition

As a college student, you have quite a bit of flexibility in planning your day. Attend class, go to student organization meetings, work on group projects, and maybe hit the gym in between.

In the workplace, however, it takes a little more planning to schedule all your work in an 8-5 frame. Here is how a typical day looks at my summer internship at Cardinal Health:

8:00 a.m. – Arrive at work and get my laptop running. I spend 20-30 minutes reading emails, checking my calendar for the day, and reading any updates on the company website.

8:30-10:30 – Work independently at my desk and chip away at my summer project.

10:30 – Break time! To avoid the mid-morning slump, I like to get up and walk around for a few minutes to stay alert.

11:00-12:00 – Intern Mentor meeting. At Cardinal Health, each intern is paired with a full-time employee as their mentor. Our biweekly meetings are casual chats over coffee and a great opportunity to ask questions about the company.

12:00-1:00 p.m. – Lunch break. A group of interns usually forms in the cafeteria, which makes lunch a fun time to meet other people from various functions and schools.

1:00-2:00 p.m. – Return to my desk and keep working on various projects.

2:00-2:30 p.m. – Intern Committee meeting. I chose to join the Networking Intern Committee, which holds weekly meetings to plan networking events for other interns and employees.

2:30-3:30 p.m. – Meeting with my manager. To make sure I am staying on track, I schedule regular meetings to go over my project and get any questions answered.

3:30-5:00 p.m. – Finish up some final work and head home!