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How to Apply the Knowledge You Gained from Co-Ops and Internships

August 21, 2017

It’s the end of the summer, which means that classes are starting up soon, and your summer internship or co-op has finished. You’ve hopefully learned valuable information during your experience, however, you may be wondering how you’ll apply it to your career, or even your personal life.


As the old saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey, than you do with vinegar.” This anedote rings especially true in the professional world. Simple courtesies like “please”, ‘thank you”, and speaking to people with respect go a long way. Showing others consideration demonstrates that you appreciate their time and effort. Remember this while you’re emailing professors, following-up with potential employers or reaching out to business associates.


Communication and teamwork go hand-in-hand. Teamwork is one of the most important skills a young professional can learn. Everyone appreciates a self-starting team player - someone who will help pick up the slack and assist his or her teammates to complete an assignment. You also learned that you cannot be afraid to ask for help and clarification on a project.

Time management

Whether you were working on one or two large-scale projects, or continuously assisting with different initiatives, you realized the value of time management during your internship or co-op. This essential skill can be applied to any career path and in your personal life. If you choose to start your own venture, this skill will certainly come in handy.


Connecting with fellow interns and co-ops, staying in touch with your manager or mingling at company events will help you more than you may realize at this stage in your career. Networking now has the potential to quickly land your dream job after graduation or easily transition into a new city. Don’t be shy - keep in touch with the people you met through LinkedIn, email or phone!


Hands-on experience

As you know, the main reason someone seeks an internship/co-op position is to gain experience. They may expect to like it well enough, and end up loving the industry they worked in... or not.

That’s the beauty of gaining hands-on experience before graduation. Students learn their strengths, weaknesses, the skills they need to develop, and if the industry or position they learned from is the right fit for their future career path. So try to gain as much experience as possible before you graduate. Your future self will thank you for it!


Sarah Temple, Communications, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship