How to Survive Your Internship

A recruiting expert takes on some of interns' biggest headaches.

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I will say, I don't know that there are many internships where it's like, OK, we've got five interns and one of you is going to get an offer. It's usually not like a reality show. It's not like The Apprentice.

Woe No. 5: You're in the office, and your friends are at the beach.


You should tell yourself that 85 percent of companies use internships to make full-time hiring decisions. And while it may be a little more painful than for your friends who are in Europe or at the beach, you're setting yourself up for a full-time job after graduation. And whereas in the old days, maybe you got an internship, maybe you didn't, and if you did, maybe you had it between junior and senior year, now students are getting internships after freshman year, sophomore year, junior year. You are exponentially more likely to get a job at a company if you had an internship at a company. Even if you decide you don't want to work for that company, you've just enhanced your résumé by having that experience on there. You don't want to take any days off unless it's truly an extraordinary situation. My brother's getting married. That might merit a day off.

Woe No. 6: You're getting strange looks from the senior management.


Seven out of 10 companies I work with say business etiquette is the single biggest issue they have with interns. The No. 1 issue, believe it or not, is dress. At most companies that have business casual dress, they really have issues with interns. It's skirts that are too short. I'm seeing your belly-button ring, I'm seeing your back tattoo. It's flip-flops. It matters because your dress is a reflection of your professionalism. When you think about perception and reality, college is all reality. Does it matter what you wear to the test if you get every question right? No, it doesn't matter. You could wear pink pajama pants. But in the working world, do you think the words coming out of your mouth are impacted by what you're wearing? Of course. In the working world, perception leads to reality.