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How do I make the most of my internship?

OSP Staff 2015

Effective Internships

From your interview to your exit, actively listen and reflect what you hear. Be inquisitive; ask questions for clarification. Keep your supervisor informed about your progress and activities. Seek feedback and receive it in a gracious, professional manner.


Don’t wait for assignments during a lull. See what needs attention and offer to help.


From the executives on down, show respect for all of your colleagues and value each person’s contributions.


Take the time to think about what you’re learning - not just about the organization, industry, or projects, but about yourself.


Appreciate the opportunities and support that you receive throughout your internship and always send a farewell message to your colleagues, not just your supervisor, extending your gratitude for the experience. In turn, your supervisor may show thanks to you by offering a letter of recommendation for you to share with future employers.

At every stage, the internship experience presents an opportunity to teach you new skills and insights about yourself as well as the real world. You may spend the first few weeks getting acquainted with your co-workers and familiarizing yourself with office protocol. During the introductory phase, you may encounter limited opportunity for creative input. As time passes however, the nature of assignments may change and the level of responsibility may increase. Ask for more assignments and contribute your ideas. Find mentors and make sure your colleagues see you as the “go-to” intern. As you adjust to the office, realize that many interns (and many staff members) perform a certain amount of clerical work. Program standards require that clerical duties are limited to a maximum of 40% of your work. You internship is what you make it; SPExS will help you experience a high-impact educational outcome.