TO OUR STUDENTS: BUILD OUR PROFESSIONAL NETWORK!
It is true that, as a student, your first motive for participating in an internship is your own professional development. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that an internship obtained for credit at New England College is built on a network of relationships between yourself, your professors, and an employer. If you do well at the internship site, this will reflect positively on the whole NEC community. Conversely, if you fail to conform to simple professional standards, this will likewise reflect on our community. Unprofessional conduct on your part will make it harder to assist other NEC students who in the future may want to obtain an internship.
The stronger we all are, and the better we perform in the workplace, the greater the chances that NEC students and graduates will obtain meaningful work experiences. We want employers to take an interest in NEC, and look to us for assistance when they have work to do. Help us build our professional network! Make up your mind to commit your time, energy and thought for the employer's benefit, when you obtain an internship.
PRIOR TO THE INTERNSHIP
- Examine your goals honestly. Why do you want an internship? In order to obtain career-related work experience? Or simply to obtain additional credit for graduation? Either motive is fine, but it is important to be clear. Don't promise an employer more than you plan to give.
- Show up on time for your first interview! Make sure you have directions to the site well beforehand, and keep these directions handy, along with the phone number of the site supervisor. Employers have a very low tolerance for tardiness.
- Be prepared to converse professionally during the first interview. Think beforehand of what you want to say to the employer and how you want to introduce yourself. Think also of some questions to ask about the internship and the company/organization. Career and Life Planning (CLP) can help you plan such a conversation.
- Make sure you and the site supervisor both have a clear understanding of what your work schedule will be.
- Find out what the "dress code" at the site will be, and plan accordingly.
DURING THE INTERNSHIP
- On your first day -- and every day following -- again, show up on time! No excuses!
- If, due to illness or any other serious circumstance, you are unable to go to work at the internship, let your employer/site supervisor know as much in advance as possible. Notify your faculty sponsor as well.
- Maintain a demeanor of professionalism at all times. This includes paying close attention to the written and unwritten standards of the workplace. In general, demonstrate initiative, eagerness to help, willingness to ask for guidance when necessary, and respect for the opinions of others. Remember that you work not only for your own benefit, but to support your site supervisor and the company/organization. For a good introduction to the experience of a new work environment, see the article "The Critical First Year on the Job," found in the Job Choices magazine (free to students) at CLP.
- Notify your faculty sponsor immediately of any changes in your work schedule.
- If a situation at work becomes difficult (unreasonable expectations, internship misrepresentation, unethical behavior, or sexual harassment), contact your faculty sponsor immediately.
AFTER THE INTERNSHIP
- Thank your site supervisor for the experience you gained while an intern, and for their support and guidance. You can do this in person at the end of your internship, but a thank-you note is always appropriate and appreciated. If you need assistance in writing this, see a CLP advisor.
- Thank your faculty sponsor as well, and turn in all materials required by your faculty sponsor for grading (e.g., final paper, charts and graphs, journal, etc.).
- Think of how the contact made at the internship site might help you in your future career development and/or job search. Meet with a CLP advisor to develop your own strategy.