Mason Family Flash

How can your student stand out during an internship?

Students at Capitol Hill internshipsYour student may be completing an internship or working a job over the summer that they hope will lead to future employment and open doors for networking opportunities. Help your student stand out and make the most of their summer experience by sharing the following tips and advice directly from a current Mason employer who works as the Director of Talent Acquisition in the information technology industry.

What is the most important piece of internship advice families can provide to their students?
Encourage your student to be professional, respectful, punctual, dress the part, and never be afraid to ask questions! Internships are a great way for your student to learn the profession. If there is a staff member that your student does not work directly with but is interested in their type of work, encourage your student to ask to shadow them for a day as long as their supervisor approves it. Your student should take advantage of exploring a potential future profession!

What is one common mistake interns make during their first few weeks?
The most common mistakes I have seen interns make are also the most difficult to make up for in the future:

  • Being late
  • Being too talkative and using a cell phone too much
  • Not taking the internship or the work seriously

What are the characteristics of successful interns?

  • Professionalism
  • Being attentive and engaged
  • Being a good listener and following directions
  • Being proactive and taking initiative – seek out work, opportunities to grow and learn

How can students leverage their contacts after the internship has ended?
It is important for your student to stay in contact with a supervisor or colleague because they may be able to assist your student during their next internship, or better yet, their next job. Your student should think of an internship as training for a future position. Employers are more likely to hire an intern who was exposed to a company culture and systems over someone without that valuable experience.

We hope these tips help you encourage your student to make the most of their internship experience. For more information about internships and services offered through University Career Services, visit

Also, remind your student it is never too soon to too late to engage with us! University Career Services is open all summer and is available in person, over the phone and virtually!

Carolyn Kleiman
Career Counselor
University Career Services