The following advice represents employer feedback, best
practices and a dose of common sense.
Don't get too comfortable
Think of your internship as a semester-long interview. Your
employer is observing your actions and expecting your
performance to remain consistent. Avoid sharing too much
personal information; have a sense of humor but remain politically
correct at all times; and remember, you are there to learn.
Keep proprietary information to yourself
As an intern, you serve as a representative of your own ethics,
as well as the employer and the UB School of Management, both
during and after hours. Refrain from sharing proprietary
information with your fellow students, friends, colleagues or
family members, and never discuss sensitive employer information in
public. Once trust is broken, it is extremely difficult to repair
and can result in unwanted professional and academic consequences.
In addition, you may jeopardize our employer relationship causing a
negative impact on your fellow students.
Dress the part
Professional attire communicates and commands a certain level
of respect. As an intern, you want to be viewed seriously. Do not
out-dress your co-workers or dress in a manner that is provocative
or inappropriate for the work environment. In your first few days,
dress to impress and make observations about the attire of your
office; you can make adjustments from there as needed.
There is a difference between dressing for a night out and
dressing for work. What may be in fashion is not always appropriate
for the office environment. Be careful of falling into the trap of
wearing too much perfume or cologne, hair products or jewelry. You
want to be remembered for your outstanding work, not for your
Your earbuds, iPhone and other devices are not part
of professional attire. Leave them in the car or in your bag and
allow yourself to focus only on your internship responsibilities.
As a reminder, no texting while on the internship.
Build a network
Create working relationships with colleagues and watch for
opportunities to collaborate. The employer may be interested in
seeing how you are able to navigate interactions with others and
how you fit within existing teams. You may end up creating
networking contacts that last well after the internship is
Clarify your role - talk with your supervisor
This one falls into the common sense category, but at
times may be difficult due to your supervisor's schedule.
Therefore, at the beginning of your internship confirm with your
supervisor a regular meeting schedule if he or she does not
suggest it first. This will build in a regular opportunity for you
to discuss progress, ask questions and share ideas.
Be sure you fully comprehend your project work and related
tasks. Ask for help when you are confused or if there is an
expectation beyond your capability.
If something is going wrong on the internship or you're having
personal difficulties, talk to your supervisor immediately to
identify next steps.
Feel free to contact us, as we are happy to work with you
confidentially to create the best strategy for resolving issues.
We believe in empowering you to speak with your supervisor
directly as this is an important skill to develop. However, we can
step in as needed.
Use real vocabulary
"Like, um, yup, yo, sorta, dude, bail, fly, hey, ya know,
whatnot, basically" and other casual habits of speech are not
acceptable on the internship. There is a difference between
speaking to your friends and speaking with an employer. How you
speak not only reflects on your professionalism but also on your
Never use profane language on the internship site, during lunch
with colleagues or fellow interns, or with clients. There is
no place for profanity during the internship or any associated
activities. You never know who may be listening or whom you may
offend. The risk is not worth the price you may pay as a
Treat email professionally
Each email you send is an example of your writtten
communication skills. Email is unlike texting. Gain a competitive
edge by writing in complete sentences with proper punctuation and
spelling. Do not abbreviate or add emoticons.
Include a professional signature at the bottom of your outgoing
emails (name, address, telephone number).
Email is not the best medium to convey serious or timely
information unless absolutely necessary. In that case, combine
email with a telephone call or in-person conversation.
Trivial content, political or religious commentary, offensive
jokes, questionable images, and video have no place in a
professional work environment.
Email is a lasting documentation of your thoughts; therefore
never express negative emotions or confrontational opinions through
email. Always assume someone is saving your emails or even
forwarding them to key individuals who could jeopardize your career
Say thank you to everyone who impacted your internship
Consider a thank you card or written expression of gratitude
toward your supervisor in particular.
Trade contact information with any individuals with whom you
wish to stay connected.
Request a wrap-up meeting
Some companies hold exit interviews, but not all. Be prepared
to discuss what you have learned and to provide a thorough status
update of the internship project if ongoing.
Respectfully request your supervisor serve as a professional
reference for you going forward.
Express your interest in working for the employer full-time if
appropriate and only if you mean it.