How to Manage an Internship AND a Job

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How to Manage an Internship AND a Job

How To Manage An Internship AND A Job

23 03 2009


The number one excuse I hear from students on why they cannot intern is, “I have to work over the summer. I can’t intern for no pay.” Ladies and Gentleman, I have exciting news ! It IS possible to have both a summer internship and a summer job. With the proper time management skills, you can have the best of both worlds. Income is top priority but internships are extremely important as well. With the job market in the state that it is, internships are a way to ensure that you are properly prepared to get out there in the real world.

INTERN QUEEN STORY: The summer between my Sophmore and Junior Year of college, I interned in Los Angeles. I interned Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9AM – 3PM at BWR Public Relations – a high-profile celebrity Public Relations Firm. I interned on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10AM – 4PM at Warren Cowan Public Relations – a boutique Publicity Firm. I worked at Islands (Fine Burger Joint) Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 5:30PM – 11PM and Sunday mornings from 10AM – 2PM. Anything is possible. Pick your schedule and then go make it happen.


Ways to Manage Your Job AND Your Internship

·         KNOW YOUR NEEDS. Make a list of what you NEED to do over the summer. If you need to make a certain amount of money, write that down. Also, tally up the amount of hours each day you must work in order to make that kind of money.


·         WORK AT NIGHT. If you don’t have a summer job yet I suggest looking for a “night” job like waiting tables. If you can find a job that doesn’t require you to be there until 5 or 6PM that is ideal.


·         MAKE YOUR HOURS. Look at your schedule and figure out which hours you can realistically devote to an internship. If you wait tables every night from 5PM -11PM, you could be available to intern 5 days per week from 8 or 9AM until 3 or 4PM. If you have a job that requires you to work during the day, try to block schedule. Perhaps you can work 3 days per week from 9AM – 6PM and then intern 2 days per week from 9AM – 6PM.


·         INTERNSHIPS CAN BE FLEXIBLE. Most companies will be flexible and will understand that  you need to work and support yourself. Most of my summer internships only required me to be there 2-3 days per week. Be honest and explain your situation clearly.


·         MANAGE YOUR EMPLOYER’S EXPECTATIONS. With both your employer and you internship coordinator be very specific with them about your time commitments. Don’t  say that you might be able to stay past 4PM some days at your internship if you must be at work at 5PM. Don’t over commit yourself. Decide which hours you 100 percent can commit and tell those hours to your boss.


·         BE PUNCTUAL AND ALERT. Since you will be splitting your time, it’s important to be extremely punctual. You want to show both employer’s that you can juggle two things at once and it won’t cause you to be late, procrastinate, etc. If you are tired, hide it! Make sure that you are bright eyed at your internship and at your job. Both places won’t want someone that  seems to be “dragging”.


·         BE PREPARED. If you know you have to go from one place to another quickly – be organized. I’m really big on Snack Bars (granola bars or fruit bars) or packing a sandwich to eat during your in-between time. Also, make sure you pack a bag with whatever change of clothes you will need, any information you need to bring, water bottle, snacks, etc.


·         SHOW THAT YOU CAN HANDLE IT. If you excel at both places that means double the letters of recommendation, double the experience, double the number of items to add  to your resume. Your parents, employers, co-workers, fellow interns will all be impressed.

Tips From Time Management Coach, Elizabeth Saunders (

“The key to balancing a job and internship over the summer is to find complementary matches. For instance, if you’re passionate about interior design and want to intern at an architecture firm during the day, seek out a job that values people working nights and weekends (such as a restaurant). On the other hand, if you dream of being on the nightly news and want to intern at a TV station, look at jobs like doing administrative work during the day at a temp agency.


By finding complementary positions, you can avoid conflicts and stress over scheduling everything in–you’re happy and you’re manager is happy.”





I asked my friends on Twitter what they thought about managing a summer job and a summer internship:

jocelleuntalanIcon_lock@InternQueen It’s all about priority. An internship provides the practical experience you need for the future; a job is a job, not ur career.

mzmadness@InternQueen wow! i’m desperate for that answer. i work full time & go to school so if there are any suggestions, i’d love to hear them.

AMCreations@InternQueen It helps if you have a job w/night hours, or an understanding boss that’s willing to keep you with less hours for a few months.

PRluna@InternQueen Be up front and honest with your employers from the start; tell them you appreciate their flexibility.

MNMarquez@InternQueen During the school year, I usually have a part-time internship and work around 20 hrs a week at Starbucks. It can be done.

MiaMcK@InternQueen find an internship that only requires 1-3 days so that u can work it around ur school/job schedule.

marissa_green13@InternQueen It’s about scheduling and making sure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin with either one.

katmaund@internqueen time management skills are ESSENTIAL. im managing an internship, job, community service, and 6 classes.

MashM@InternQueen time management skills!

gradspotguru@InternQueen In college, I thought the people who got library jobs were on the ball — you basically get paid to do your own work.

JillianMoss@InternQueen It takes a lot of time management. I did it last semester with ft school, a job, and an internship. Just takes a lot of focus.

Sarah_Bella@InternQueen Usually internships only require 20-30 hours so that leaves weeknights & weekends to make that money! Stinks not having a life but the internship experience is totally worth it!! What you sow so shall you reap!

jjaime@InternQueen The day has 24 hours…it’s all about what the job is about and that it is on a different time than the internship. For example: Internship from 9 to 4 and job from 6 to 10. Considering a part time job.

RazChorev@InternQueen they do as Nike told them - JUST DO IT! party less, and work more…

gonzomehum@InternQueen Intern in the mornings, work in the evenings, party on the weekends. Just replace work with school when summer ends.

theresajohnson@InternQueen If the internship was paid or if both were part-time. This takes a lot of sacrifice.