How To Be An Internship Rock Star: 8 Do’s and 8 Don’ts

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Photo by Christina @wocintechchat

Written by Carole Kirschner

Congratulations! You just beat out dozens – if not hundreds – of other applicants, and you’re headed to the first day of your internship. If you follow the simple principles below you’ll have people enthusiastically recommending you for your next internship, or better yet, your first paying industry job.

Here are the Do’s…

How To Be An Internship Rock Star: 8 Do's and 8 Don'ts

1. Be ten minutes early…

… To everything. (If you’re on time, you’re actually already late.)

2. Be upbeat.

Smile casually and make eye contact with everyone.

3. Be willing to do any job…

… That needs to be done – with enthusiasm.

4. Be curious.

Ask questions if you don’t know how to do something. Make sure you’re not interrupting, but make sure you’re doing a task right before you do it if you’re not sure.

5. Be the first one in…

… And the last one to leave, if your school schedule permits.

6. Be ambitious.

Always ask for more work whenever you’re finished with a job. Ask if you can organize something that’s messy – a closet or shelves.

7. Be considerate.

Ask for career advice only when the person has a free moment and seems open to helping.

8. Bring something delicious…

…Like homemade cookies or muffins – on your first day.

Here are the Don’t’s.

How To Be An Internship Rock Star: 8 Do's and 8 Don'ts

1. Don’t be late…


2. Don’t complain about any job you’re given.

… Even subtly, like rolling your eyes or hesitating before you say, yes.

3. Don’t sit around.

Always ask for work or find a job to do (just make sure to ask someone ahead of time to be sure it’s alright for you to do it). In terms of asking for more work, you’d be surprised that most of your peers don’t really want to work hard. So if you do, you stand out. You’ll get noticed and appreciated.

4. Don’t text while you’re working or waiting for work.

Everyone else does it, so if you don’t, you’re special. Even though it’s tempting to text… resist.

5. Don’t tell people about your career aspirations…

… Unless/until they ask you.

6. Don’t interrupt people when they’re working…

…Unless you need to make sure you’re doing a job correctly. And then, be very polite and wait until they’re finished with what they’re working on.

7. Don’t leave something unfinished.

Even if it means staying late.

8. Don’t wear sloppy or dirty clothes or T-shirts…

…With controversial wording or pictures, and be sure to cover up any questionable tattoos.

Follow these rules, and you’ll be asked back… maybe even as a new employee.How To Be An Internship Rock Star: 8 Do's and 8 Don'ts

How To Be An Internship Rock Star: 8 Do's and 8 Don'ts

Carole Kirschner Having worked as a senior level television development executive, including posts at CBS and as head of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, Carole Kirschner has the insider’s angle on how to break in and move up in the entertainment industry. She’s currently Director of the CBS Diversity Writers Program. Her book, “Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV or Digital Entertainment”, is published by Michael Wiese Productions.

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