Tips for Federal internship success

The start of a new year and a new semester often bring the start of new internship opportunities, including internships with Operation Warfighter (OWF), a Federal internship program for wounded, ill and injured Service members.

There are currently more than 500 OWF interns placed with dozens of Federal agencies all around the country, and there are always more opportunities for Service members to join the program. We hope to hear from you!

Two people in business clothes shake hands.

Taking initiative, asking lots of questions and volunteering for additional work if you have downtime are just some of the ways to make the most out of an internship experience.

And for those of you who are starting the new year off with a new internship, here are some tips for making the most of the opportunity.

1. Think of internships as long term job interviews.

Dress and act professionally and put your best foot forward every day. Nailing an internship can have the same result as nailing a job interview: a permanent position.

2. Take Initiative. Ask for more work if you have lots of downtime.

Employers are always impressed by people who are willing to go above and beyond. Asking for more work helps showcase your initiative, and might give you a chance to demonstrate additional skills and abilities for your employer.

3. Be observant and ask questions.

Just as an internship is a chance for a company or organization to learn about you, it is also an opportunity for you to learn about them. Especially for interns who are still exploring different career options to find the best fit, paying attention and asking as many questions as possible can help narrow down the options.

4. Ask for regular meetings with your supervisor to ensure both of your expectations are being met.

This is another way to show initiative and gives you an opportunity to adjust your performance if necessary. It also allows you to express concerns and raise issues before they become major problems, helping to ensure a positive internship experience for you and your supervisor.

5. Develop relationships and keep in touch.

Your internship might not turn into a full-time job right away, but the people you meet and the connections you make will be invaluable as you continue your employment search. You never know when an old contact might have just the job for you, so don’t let any of them get away!