Ten Things I Wish I Was Told Before My Internship

Have you ever heard that nerves are just excitement in another form? Stepping into Hilton on my first day was nerve-wracking. This was my first corporate internship, and the uncertainty of what to expect warranted nerves. The first step in easing ‘first day jitters’ is shifting your awareness to how cool this opportunity is. For the remaining apprehensions, I have sat down with my fellow interns and prepared a list. Here’s what I learned and the things I wish I was told to before starting my internship:

1. Relax
Take a breath. I cannot stress enough the kindness you will be met with here at Hilton. The tasks and projects assigned within the internship are not menial; you will be appreciated, because the work you are doing is genuinely assisting your team. And, your team is there to help. So, relax. The people are great, and at the end of the day, that is arguably more important than the work itself!

2. Question
The easiest way to be great at your job is to ask anytime you are unsure. You are not expected to know the ins-and-outs of your department on your first day. Do not ever be afraid to ask a question. Equally, be curious! People here are eager to help you, and curiosity is very much celebrated and encouraged at Hilton.

3. You Will Be Exposed to Other Departments
One of the coolest parts of interning at Hilton is the exposure to other departments. You are encouraged to shadow other departments and set up meetings outside of your direct team. Take advantage of an opportunity to gain exposure to more than one job, team, and department. Knowledge is power- and all of that.

4. Don’t Try to Define Your Role Before Starting
It is certainly easy to want to know exactly what you will be doing before you start your internship, but being open minded to the specifics of your position avails your role a chance to be adaptable. So many of us interns did not expect our role to be anything like what it turned out to be. Let your supervisor, your team, and your time here define the role. Patience. Patience. Patience.

5. Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer! Take advantage of the volunteer opportunities that Hilton has to offer. Helping your community and Hilton are two great ways to meet people and to contribute to something that transcends your ten-week stay here.

6. Connect With Other Interns
It is so enriching to connect with other interns who come from all over the world. I really had not given much thought to this being beneficial to my experience, but it has definitely heightened my experience at Hilton. After all, these are the people who are going to relate best to your situation, and who doesn’t like making friends?!

7. Dress Code/ Workplace Etiquette
Dress code and workplace etiquette were definitely a common denominator in everyone’s apprehensions. The best advice I can give is to judge by your surroundings. Notice what your team wears and how people conduct themselves, and adapt accordingly and continuously. Most dress code and etiquette questions that you have will be answered by simply observing the people you work with. In terms of your first day, dress to impress! You only get one chance at a first impression. So, when in doubt, dress “up.”

8. Be Yourself
A great thing about Hilton is that you are encouraged to bring your true personality each day. The Dallas Social Media Intern, Liz, spoke to this by saying, “I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to be myself, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that and the best relationships I’ve developed have been from me being myself.”

9. Be Independent
You should and will be expected to work very hard throughout your internship. Be thorough and take charge of your own time. It is your responsibility to be engaged, dedicated, and diligent. Your internship is the perfect opportunity to harness independence in a corporate context. Independence is a valuable skill, and this internship is a welcome opportunity to learn and to practice it.

10. A Ten Week Internship Feels Short: How to make an impact

I have found throughout this experience that the most valuable interactions and conversations stem from being present, interested, and authentic:

  • Be present. Presumably, as an intern, you are at a place in life where you are anticipating your career. It is a time in our lives where so much of our perspective is forward facing. Shift your focus to the ‘now’, and you will reap the value that comes from being here.
  • Be interested and curious. Genuinely listen, so that you can respond in a valuable way.
  • Be authentic, so that the relationships you make are equally authentic. Authenticity will take you farther than any other form of flattery or attempt to make an impression.

Written by: Hannah Barret