I have had seven interns in my 14 years in City management, and some were great, and some didn’t have a clue. I found as a manager I sometimes had to tailor the internship to the strengths of the intern. For instance, one intern was a non-traditional student (read older stay-at-home Mom) who had very few computer skills. I found out her writing skills were strong, however, and I gave her the assignment of writing and placing some feature stories about our City in trade publications. She went on to be hired as a reporter by our local newspaper where she does great feature stories for them.
My most recent intern had to be told not to wear shorts and mini-shirts to the office. If you are an intern, take a look around at what others are wearing to work. Treat your internship as a job–come to work looking professional and you’ll be treated that way. If you work hard and an opening does come up, you’ll have left a good impression.
Another area interns need to take seriously is their attitude. This is no longer school–this is a job. That’s why they call it work, and you’ll be expected to do some work. It may not be exactly what you had hoped to do, but refusing to do work because it doesn’t fit into your idea of your internship is not acceptable. Jump in and help others with their workload when you can. You’ll learn a lot that way.