Internship Survival Guide

By Khadejah Stegall

Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.

You finally applied, interviewed and you landed the internship! Congrats, the easy part is over. As you complete your internship, be aware that you are always being evaluated even when you think you aren’t. As an intern, you may think you don’t have a huge role, but your voice matters!.  As you are starting your career, here are eight rules if you want to kill it at your internship and succeed in your industry. Pack your survival kit!

You MUST do your research

Doing your research is critical as an intern. You can leave big impressions upon people if you do your research about the company, your department and even employees that you work with. Research can spark great ideas or can be a conversation starter. For example, if you read an interview done on the VP of your department, you can spark a conversation and ask him or her to go more in detail about a specific question they were asked. If you are always known for doing your research, then you will create a great brand for yourself.

You MUST work hard

No one will trust you with big tasks if you can’t handle the small ones. Be enthusiastic about every duty and consistent. People want hard workers on their team. Hard work will be recognized and you can land your next job while creating a good reputation for yourself.

You MUST be proactive

Sometimes people are busy and when you are “out of sight, out of mind,” people forget about you. Take the initiative to get to know a certain number of people per week. Ask people if they have anything you can work on so they can be more productive for the day. Is there a meeting coming up that your manager has to attend? Ask him or her if they need anything before the meeting. Do the unexpected and it will be recognized!

You MUST have a good attitude.

You could be the smartest person, work hard, and give great ideas but if you aren’t likeable, then people probably don’t want you on their team. People want to be around positive people especially if your department gets very busy with tight deadlines. The last thing someone needs is to be in a negative environment.

You MUST network

Networking is critical. If you ask someone how they got their job, the chances are likely it was because they knew someone. Building valuable relationships is imperative because it can open many doors for you. Don’t just ask your old boss if they can get you a job. Invite them for coffee to see how they are doing and during the conversation, tell him or her how you appreciated his or her guidance in your career journey. Get to know what they have been up to first and then ask advice about employment opportunities.

You MUST pay your dues

Everybody has to start somewhere. Millennials have a stereotype of not being patient and wanting to get to the top overnight. Be patient and know that it’s a journey and everyone’s path isn’t going to be the same. The journey is marathon, not a sprint.

You MUST have thick skin

Don’t take anything personal because it’s all business. You may have worked on the development team to pitch this awesome show idea and it fell through. And that’s OK! You dust yourself off and try again.

You MUST have fun!

Work hard and play hard. Enjoy the journey, meet awesome people and remember the purpose of why you do what you do. Good luck!


Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com.