The 5 Most Important Tips For Rocking Your First Internship

Lily Herman
The 5 Most Important Tips For Rocking Your First Internship
Sponsored by, Aramark

This article is sponsored by Aramark, which is currently hiring for Facilities Management, Hospitality Management, Direct Sales and Distribution, and Finance and Information Technology  (for Annual Programs) on WayUp now.

Things that can be really scary:

  • Gigantic spiders
  • Sharks
  • Your first internship

We can’t help you too much with the spiders or sharks, but we do know a thing or two about crushing it at internships, and we’re here to help. Taking on an internship for the first time is daunting for anybody, but luckily, there are some key principles to keep in mind that’ll make you stand out from the crowd.

What are the five biggest things you need to know to be your best self at a first internship? Read on and get ready to rock it.

1. Stay Organized

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Whether it’s managing your company email account or just keeping your desk clean, one of the most important things you can do during your first internship is stay organized. You may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the work you’re taking on, but you’re the one who controls how well you schedule your day, manage your to-do list, and keep your work area tidy.

For example, how can you start out each day right? When you get to your desk, make sure you grab your notebook, and start listing out all the things you need to do. Every time a new task comes up, make sure to write it down. There’s no better feeling then crossing off an item on your list!

The bottom line? When you come into work knowing what you’re doing each day and have a clear plan of attack, it’s easier to get every task done and show your manager your results.

2. Think About Your Boss

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When you’re new to the workforce and interning for the first time, it can be difficult to figure out how to prioritize work and plan ahead. Luckily, there’s a very simple question that can help guide you during your time on the job: “What would make my boss’ job easier?”

Whether that’s organizing your department’s most important records or finishing that data entry your boss has mentioned, taking on a “no task is too big or small” approach and putting your boss first makes a huge difference. Even if it’s your first week in the office, don’t be afraid to ask your manager what you can do to help! By the end of your internship, your supervisor should be so sad that you’re leaving; that’s when you know you’ve become irreplaceable!

3. Ask for More Work

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Maybe your boss is extra busy or your internship role was undefined from the start, but a common obstacle for many interns (particularly first-time interns) is what to do if you’re not assigned enough work or if you finish a task early.

The answer? Ask for more! Don’t be afraid to check in with your supervisor and see if there’s anything else you can do, and if he or she doesn’t have anything, feel free to hit up other people around the office.

Pro tip: Come up with your own projects if you see a need in the office, like working on an updated Facebook page or organizing an Excel spreadsheet of PR contacts. Be the one intern who creates a system that the team implements forever, and then they’ll think about you every time they use it!

By keeping an open mind and taking initiative to make the most of your experience, you’ll meet new people and learn new skills. You’ll also become the office’s go-to intern.

4. Befriend Your Fellow Interns

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No matter how competitive your internship program may be, it’s important to be kind and be courteous to your fellow interns. It’ll go a long way to making your internship more manageable from the start.

Think of it this way: While they’re fellow interns today, your peers could be big-time executives tomorrow (okay, not tomorrow in most cases, but you get what we mean). Regardless, they’re great professional contacts to have! You don’t necessarily need to become besties with everyone you work with, but leaving your internship with people’s contact info and a promise to meet up in the future does wonders for expanding your network.

5. Ask Yourself What You’ll Walk Away With

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When you’re hard at work, it’s easy to get so sucked into the everyday shuffle that you forget why you’re at your internship in the first place. Now and then, take a step back and ask yourself what you specifically want to gain from this internship. Whether that’s a tangible product (like an app you built or articles you wrote) or something more abstract (like better marketing skills or a bigger network), it’s important to keep that in mind as you grow and make sure you get the most of our your experience.

See how there’s tons to gain from your first internship! By staying organized, keeping an open mind, and meeting as many people as possible, you’ll  walk away with a great experience, helpful skills, and lot of incredible professional contacts.

Want to find out more about National Intern Day and how you can win a cash prize? Head over to to get the scoop.