The following information represents employer
feedback, widely understood best practices and a dose of
Don't Get Comfortable
Landing the internship may have been a significant challenge,
but that was only the first step. Think of your internship as a
semester-long interview. The employer is observing
your actions and expecting your performance to remain
consistent throughout the semester. Stay sharp and work toward your
goals at an even pace. Avoid sharing too much personal information;
have a sense of humor but remain politically correct at all times;
and remember your status as a student.
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
There is a reason the CEO wears a power tie. Professional
attire communicates and commands a certain level of respect. As an
intern, you want to be viewed seriously. However, do not out-dress
your co-workers or dress in a manner that is inappropriate for the
Women should remember the difference between dressing for a
night out and dressing for work. Although 4-inch stiletto platforms
may be in style, an internship is not the place to make a
fashion statement. You want to be remembered for your outstanding
work, not for your attire.
Men often fall into the trap of wearing too much cologne, hair
products, jewelry or other accessories. Remember, your
identity is shaped by your actions and quality of your work,
not by your oversized watch.
Your earbuds, cell phone, Blackberry 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
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
Keep a Journal
Reflect on what you have accomplished and what you are learning
by keeping a weekly journal of your internship activities. This
practice will assist you in updating your résumé,
preparing for interviews and prepping for negotiations in your next
internship or job search. More importantly, a
journal keeps you in touch with your strengths and weaknesses
and enables you to achieve a greater sense of self-awareness.
Talk to Your Supervisor
This one falls into the common sense category, but at
times this 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.
Most importantly, if something is going wrong or you're having
difficulties with your internship or personally, talk to your
supervisor immediately. Please contact our staff as we
often provide advice and suggestions to students for communicating
with their supervisors. We believe in empowering students to
speak with their supervisors directly as this is an important skill
to develop overall.
Ask for Help
Make sure you fully comprehend tasks assigned to you. Ask
for help when you are having trouble understanding the task or if
there is a situation out of your capability.
Use Effective Vocabulary
"Like, um, yup, yo, sorta, dude, bail, fly, hey, ya know,
whatnot, basically" and other popular 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
intelligence. Additionally, do not interrupt your supervisor or
others during conversations.
Never use profane language on the internship site, during lunch
with colleagues or fellow interns, or with clients. There is
no place for foul language 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 not like texting. If you want to
gain a competitive edge, write in complete sentences with proper
punctuation and spelling. Do not abbreviate or add emoticons.
Include a signature or business card at the bottom of your outgoing
emails (your name, address, telephone number).
Pay attention to content. Email may not be the best strategy to
convey serious or timely information unless absolutely necessary.
Combine those types of email with a telephone call or
in-person conversation. Trivial emails, jokes or chains have no
place on the internship. Avoid sending email to people
sitting close to you; talk to them in person when appropriate.
Each email you send is a formal 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 aspirations.
Last Day Advice
The last day at the internship should be as professional as the
first. People potentially remember a person for their latest
actions, not necessarily their best.
Say thank you to everyone who impacted your internship
experience. Consider writing a formal thank you on professional
letterhead to your supervisor.
Ace the Exit Interview
Accept constructive criticism and be honest when answering
questions from your supervisor. Deliver suggestions with
professionalism and tact.
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.
Remind your supervisor of any Office of Internships and
Experiential Learning paperwork that needs to be completed, such as
the end-of-semester evaluation.
Express your interest in working for the employer full-time if
appropriate and only if you mean it.
Gather contact information from any individuals with whom you
wish to stay connected.
Share your contact information in a thank you email to
co-workers and copy your supervisor.