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How To Ace Your First Internship While In High School

Kelsey O'Malley
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One opportunity that is often overlooked by juniors and seniors in high school is getting a summer internship before starting college.

Having internship experience before your peers, who are waiting for college to start interning, can give you an edge: its a great way to build experience, learn how to work with others, and acquire new skills that may be useful later on.

Check out these five tips for ideas for how to find internships in while you’re still in high school and what you can do to make the most of your time at your first internship.

Try to get an internship geared toward your intended major or interests

You can use one of the many internship search sites or ask your school counselor about what’s available for internships. Here are some websites that a worth a look:

By doing an internship in your area of interest, you can really get a sense of what it’s actually like to work in the industry you choose, which can help you decide if the major you’re considering is really a good fit.

Go into it with the right mindset

To get the most out of your internship, the right mindset is everything, even if the work that you’re doing does not seem to be all that exciting when you first start. Just being on time every day of the internship, acting energetic, and upbeat will help you build your first working relationships and a great attitude will benefit you in the future if you need to reach out for  references or letters of recommendations.

Get some intel before starting and set goals before you start

Doing research before your first day will help you understand the company’s operations and the industry the company you’re interning for is in.  Setting goals for what you hope to accomplish during your internship before you start will help you keep your eyes on the prize and get real value out of the internship.

Ask the right questions

Your manager at internship will know that you’re a high school intern and that you’re there  to learn, asking questions is expected and is part of the process especially at the beginning. Some things to ask questions about include:

  • Questions around your tasks – Make sure to ask questions about tasks you’re working on, this will help verify that you’re aligned on the work you will be doing, and will allow you to pick up new stuff more efficiently.
  • Get clarification on new concepts – Depending on what you’re doing, you’ll hear a lot of different words, concepts, and acronyms. As time and your own work at the internship allows, try to ask questions about some of the concepts you hear. Asking questions can help you understand the business you’re working in better and your genuine interest in the business can help reflect positively with your employer.
  • Ask questions about the applications you will be using – Every industry and company has their own application set that they use to get things done, some of which you will be introduced to. Try to learn as much as you can about the applications that you’re working in, this way you can add  them to your resume if you can get proficient enough by the end of your high school internship, which will set you up well for your college internship.

Take notes

Taking as many notes as possible will help you stay on track when you start your internship. Be sure to write down deadlines, tasks on your plate, as well as notes on any new processes you’re being introduced to. Your first few days at your internship may be a blur of activity, so having notes will be handy.

Remember, you’re already ahead of the game! With these tips, you’ll make the right impression and get some awesome references to show for it.


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