Dos and Donts during a Summer Internship

Discussion in 'Get The Job' started by Martin, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Martin

    Martin New Member

    Next year’s intake are now starting to apply for 2017 summer internships and the process of interviews and cover letters has begun. If you are lucky enough to secure your place on a coveted summer internship, then there are certain pieces of advice I gathered that are worth sharing, and will have a direct impact on whether you secure the job offer or not.

    Have a Positive Attitude

    The number 1 tip I can give, from personal experience and from seeing around, is to be positive. Yes, you may have just finished your exams, yes moving to London may be new, yes you’re not used to working and yes you’re incredibly tired. But positivity is seriously well noted. I’m not saying go to work every day jumping up and down with excitement, but be enthused, be pleased with the amazing opportunity the firm trusted you with, show up and smile. The amount of competition you fought off, the sincere trust the firm placed on you to deliver, it’s very important you realise that and you repay that faith. So take the opportunity, be positive about everything: your appearance, your professional conduct, your work. People love happy people, and considering you may work some seriously long hours, the professionals there need to know they can work with you, and they won’t want to work with you if you’re a grumpy person.

    Be Inquisitive

    Let’s be real: you’re the intern and they’re 10 levels above you, in terms of professionalism, in terms of knowledge, in terms of experience. But rather than bow down under their superiority, why not use it?! Do not go through the internship wishing you had their knowledge, or somehow beating yourself up that you’re not as smart as them or not as competent with your work as they are with theirs. You are probably 10-20 years younger than them; if you were as good as them they would hire you straight in as a Vice President! So respect the fact you are the intern and utilise the fantastic network you have around you, ask questions about the work, ask questions about their life. Everyone you meet will come in handy but you need to take initiative and ask people, or go for coffee chats etc.

    Be Personable

    You saw my above point not talking just about work, but be inquisitive about people’s life stories too. Ultimately you will understand that every person is a human being also – they come to work, they’re probably tired at some point during the day, they go home to their family – they have emotions and, regardless of whether they are a new 21-year-old Analyst or a 50-year-old Managing Director, all are relatable. Yes, it is important to ask about work and show that keen side, but again understand that this is seriously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really network and make a mark on people in terms of the human element. Talk to people about their interests, talk to people about their weekend, talk to people about their families. You’ll find that, post-internship, these are the important things you look back on and the relationships established will stand you in so much greater stead as you progress through your career.

    Do Not Keep To Yourself

    In one way or another I have probably said this point multiple times already, such is its importance. Of course you are in the internship to impress them, but don’t forget it is a critical time for you to decide whether you could do the job too. This involves meeting the team, this involves seeing as much as possible to get the best all-round holistic picture. In that sense, whilst it is great to gradually absorb into you, also seek knowledge. Ask people for work, and if that work takes you to other divisions of the firm (it most certainly will!), bond with them also. Everyone is willing to help so see the internship as an amazing opportunity to learn. Maybe in the first couple of weeks I was in the mentality that it was all about me having to impress them, but very quickly that switched to realising that what an unbelievable opportunity I had to just see people and see the firm and, once you switch the mentality, you realise you perform better and you take more opportunities presented to you.

    Do Not Be Desperate

    Converting to a job offer will be great, but is not always the right move. However, you will not know this if you take things too seriously. It is the classic pressure interns put on themselves – they’ve worked so hard on their application to get the summer internship, which should be the stepping stone to the job and they pressurise themselves to not mess up because what an unbelievable chance this is to get ahead of the game for the graduate scheme – but if you take it too literally, you will honestly not know if it is the right move. Don’t be desperate and don’t force it. Be yourself through the internship, absorb as much as you can about the work, about the industry, about the team, and be very honest with yourself about whether you could do it long term. If not, the short-term pain of reapplying and going through the whole cycle again will be worth it in the long-run. Besides, you still had an amazing summer internship full of great learning opportunities and that itself works as a great marketing tool too.
    Canary Wharfian likes this.
  2. Trigger

    Trigger Blessed

    Great article. People do love happy people! I also like the last part where you talk about how converting a job offer is not always the best thing to do. It's important to be honest with yourself.
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