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How to Survive an Internship

While an internship can sometimes feel like a thankless job, this temporary position offers great experience, networking, and can give you ideas about what you want to do in the future. Make the experience worthwhile with these tips.


  • Step 1: Remember, the job is temporary. If you hate the work or the people, realize that you've at least learned that you're not interested in pursuing any future opportunities with this company. Keep being nice and helpful. While you might not work there ever again, having contacts is great once you start looking for a permanent job. Envision a future that involves you asking an intern to make copies, not the other way around.
  • FACT: In a 2010 survey, 52 percent of companies that were hiring interns said they would hire interns as permanent, full-time employees once the internship was over.
  • Step 2: Dress professionally. If the office you're working in has a casual dress code, you should still arrive for work looking polished and put-together. The goal is to get people to remember you for how great you are, not how sloppy you look.
  • Step 3: Save up your money and put yourself on a budget, especially if you're internship is unpaid. Take on a second part-time job if you can juggle your hours -- but don't sacrifice sleep or time at your internship.
  • Step 4: Find work to do. Do not wait around to be assigned something to do--ask people in your department if they need help with specific projects. Not only does being proactive keep you from being bored, but your attitude will help out your image around the company.
  • TIP: Try to use your problem-solving skills when you're given a task. If you run up to your boss asking questions constantly, they won't trust you with any work.
  • Step 5: Smile, even if you feel miserable. And don't be exclusive with your nice attitude. You never know who you will need to help you out in the future.

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