Student Tips and Advice: 7 Steps to Success

1. General Guidelines for Success

  • Carefully read all orientation materials
  • Set goals/priorities; be prepared; meet all deadlines
  • Ask questions when unsure; take notes
  • Observe or ask about formality of names and titles
  • Dress appropriately
  • Always be tactful and diplomatic with everyone in the organization

2. Be a "Team Player"

  • Do not compete with co-workers
  • Do routine jobs without complaining
  • Show initiative
  • Develop work relationships slowly after you understand the company culture
  • Always inform your supervisor of your whereabouts

3. Beware of Common Irresponsibility and/or Immaturity Pitfalls

  • Personal phone calls
  • Sloppy desk and work space
  • Talking about non-business matters
  • Sitting idle at your desk
  • Surfing the net, Facebook, checking personal email, etc.
  • Asking for time off; remember co-op is a "no-cut" class

4. Observe Supervisor's Priorities

  • Neatness of work area
  • Confidentiality of materials
  • Coming early or staying late
  • Lunch hour routine
  • Telephone etiquette
  • General office demeanor

5. Observe Supervisor's Management Style

  • Do they prefer written or oral reports?
  • Do they supervise closely or from afar?
  • Do they provide immediate responses to questions and problems or do they prefer to think about them?

6. With Respect to Feedback and Reviews

  • If you do not receive any feedback after the first month, ask your supervisor
  • Accept criticism without being defensive
  • Do not interpret performance reviews as personal criticism
  • Remember that people want you to succeed

7. Take Every Advantage to Learn

  • If you have time, read available materials
  • Ask questions; observe people's behavior; attend social functions
  • Network whenever possible; collect business cards
  • Identify career tracks and their prerequisites
  • Ask for letter of recommendation at the end of your assignment

If you have any problems, resolve them by discussing them with your supervisor, UM Internship Services, or call the COB Internship Director, Kathleen Tarkalson, at (406) 243-6771.