Internship Dos and Don'ts

Student internships used to be synonymous with office grunt work. But things have changed dramatically in today's fast-paced and interconnected world. University students are well-traveled, career-driven, hungry for knowledge, and able to make a real difference within an organization.

Internships, from political aides to humanitarian outreach to lab assistants, can be valuable, eye-opening experiences that help students develop practical skills and open doors to all kinds of possibilities after graduation.

NYU Abu Dhabi's Career Development Center works closely with employers in the region and around the world to connect students with work opportunities during their four years at university and even after earning a degree. We talked to a few recruitment specialists at the annual on-campus Opportunities Fair to ask employers what they're looking for in a candidate and how students can avoid missteps when applying for a job, and in their day-to-day work.

"Interns don't make coffee. They make an impact."

Intern Recruiter

What do you look for in a candidate?

  • Campus leaders who want to make a difference in the community
  • Varied and exciting backgrounds
  • Great analytical skills, creativity, and willing to come into an organization and grow
  • People who are willing to dig and research
  • Interns must be diligent, hard working, and adaptable
  • Able to handle situations in a multi-cultural environment

What mistakes do interns tend to make?

  • They think in terms of "I" and not "we"
  • Unable to articulate their accomplishments
  • Sloppy resumes and spelling mistakes
  • Not giving it 100%
  • Interns who are lazy and not interested in working properly won't learn anything or develop
  • They pretend to know things they don't know
  • Lack of confidence

Advice for students pursuing an internship?

  • Know what a company's success drivers are and match those with your own experiences and accomplishments
  • Practice the interview process, articulate what you've done and what the result was
  • Be involved in your campus, especially during your first and second year
  • Care about the work
  • Learn about different departments and work cross-functionally
  • Ask for help. It's ok if you don't know something
  • Go the extra mile for yourself and for the company