The intern years: the best habits I learned
Most of us have been there and done that. I completed several internships while a college student. But for those of you who are just getting started in new internships, there are a few things you should be aware of to make the ride as smooth as possible. Here are few tips that helped me during the intern years.
Be punctual. I know, I know. You hear this all the time. But listen: employers pay attention to this “little thing”. Showing up five minutes late might not be a big deal today, but habitually showing up late will hurt you in the long run. Employers remember stuff like which intern values their time the most. Be on time.
Do the grunt-work with a smile. Some of your office duties may include copying pages on the copier, faxing, scanning or shredding documents, or simply running your boss’s errands and getting her coffee. Remember: if you get good at all of that, you will be handed bigger and better responsibilities. And these are all important skills for you to learn anyway. No one wants an employee doesn’t know how to use a copier.
Get to know employees at all levels of the company. Yes, it is important to be nice to the receptionist, get to know the middle man, and talk with the C-suite executives. Each of them can offer excellent and practical advice in navigating your office.
Dress for the job. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen young people (yes, those my age) who take this for granted. I’ve seen girls who dress like they’re going to a nightclub, and guys who wear the khakis out. Unless your office has a casual Friday, steer clear of blue jeans. Choose professional attire including dresses, skirts and blazers. You can find affordable professional clothing at stores like H&M and The Limited. Dressing for the job shows that you not only take the job seriously, but also that you take yourself seriously as well.
Volunteer for projects. There is usually a job around the office that no one wants to do. Volunteer to take it on. It shows initiative, and your boss will surely take note.
Continue your education. I’m not saying go to grad school, but just because you graduated with your bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean the learning is over. Keep up with professional development. There are plenty of lectures, seminars, and networking events out there, some of which are free or are low in cost. Continue your education and let your boss in on the fact that you are doing so. They’ll appreciate the fact that you are investing in your career.
Doing an internship is an important way to gain valuable experience in your field and gain knowledge in the office environment. It can also open unlimited doors. Work hard and show your commitment to the company, and you may be able to reap great rewards!