Most interns have read a list of what to do and not do at a company. This is a list, compiled by personal experience, of things I was never told (or didn’t listen to) of tips I wish I knew coming to my internship.
1. Wake up extra early
Starting my internship right after school ended was a difficult task for me. It did not matter how excited I was, 8:30 was early compared to my 10:00 classes. As terrible as it sounds waking up early is the best way to solve the problem of exhaustion. I wake up 15 minutes before I need to. I do some jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups. I am not an exercise addict; I need to be alert and focused. Getting the blood flowing and allowing for extra time not to rush in the morning is vital to a successful and awake day. This brings me to my next tip…
2. Caffeine is your best friend
It’s true. No matter how much you love or hate your internship, you will at times appear bored because of a lack of sleep. That is not ok. Caffeinate as much as possible to be as focused as possible. Coffee is great but, precautions need to be taken with it …
3. Mints, not gum
Good breath is a necessity, but chewing on gum makes you look like an annoying school girl. Opt for the mints instead.
4. Notes, notes and notes
Taking notes will never hurt you. It will make whomever you are speaking to feel important and studies have shown note-taking improves memorization.
5. Manners are always appreciated
This one is huge. Interning in an office you will most likely be working with an older generation. Please and thank you is a way of life for them, as well they should be for us. Everyone appreciates a polite intern, make sure you are. Along with this, thank you e-mails should become second language. Manners, they need to be exercised daily.
6. When nothing to do, read up on the company
At times, an intern is not always needed. Shocker, I know. When your supervisor is hard at work on a project the best thing to do is find out more about the company. The mission and the vision statement should almost be memorized as well as the objectives for the coming year. During a casual lunch date I have impressed my supervisor with my knowledge on how the company is organized and who works where. You can’t be too prepared in an internship.
7. Receive the most you can out of every task
As an intern, you are not the most influential person to the company. Whatever task you are given, do your best at it. While accomplishing it, think to yourself “how cans this work best for me”. Realize that every opportunity given in an internship is a window to excelling in your future.
8. Edit, edit and edit
In a fast paced, technological world, the written word’s importance is still prevalent. With employees in a company working in other states or from home, all they may know of you are your reports, messages and a phone call. An email can be all your co-worker knows of you, make sure it is properly edited to show the best representation of yourself you possibly can.
9. Use their terminology
The truth is, as an intern, you’re the rookie. What you do not want is for everybody to know. One way to not be seen so new and naïve is to adapt to the company’s terminology. For instance, instead of saying “I have got the time” in my internship, everyone says “If you have the bandwidth.” Try to work the office lingo into your own vocabulary. It will appear that you have adapted to the culture easily and they may forget you are the temporary intern.
10. Don’t become intoxicated in front of your boss
This may sound like a no-brainer. It is not. With “meetings” during happy hour and the company picking up the tab, it may be difficult to say “no” to another martini. Resist. I can’t imagine a situation where the intern being a stumbling, drunken mess is an acceptable scenario. Maintain professionalism, even in a social setting.
I am sure by the end of my internship I will have a million and of these lists. For now, this will have to do.