Internships are an integral part of college. They can help you determine what career path you should take, give you valuable experience in the workforce and lead to great connections and recommendations for your future.
Picture your first day at your dream internship. How do you leave a lasting impression and make the most of it? Drake University students give their best advice in these twelve DOs and DON’Ts:
DO: Ask questions! “Don’t be afraid to get help with something you don’t know how to do,” said sophomore Aubrey Johnson, an intern at a local pharmacy. “You’re there to learn from the people around you; they don’t expect you to know everything on the spot.”
DON’T: Stop making decisions for yourself. You probably don’t need to find your boss to ask permission to use the bathroom or get a drink.
DO: Like or share your new workplace on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Keeping up with workplace events, clients or monthly specials will help you answer the question, “So, what do you do again?”
DON’T: Spend your time in the office messaging your roommate about where you’re going to dinner tonight or looking through your lab partner’s wedding album on Pinterest.
DO: Dress for success. Most places prefer business or business casual dress to please customers and appear professional. “I always overdress for work. It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when an important client comes in or you have a surprise meeting,” said junior Marlana Kulig, an intern at a law firm near campus. “Ask your employer what their dress code is, then stick to it.”
DON’T: Wear the nine-inch heels you can’t walk in. Let’s face it: interns won’t be spending all day in their cubicles. Your aching feet will thank you later.
DO: Show up 10 or 15 minutes early for work. Giving yourself an extra few minutes to be late, get settled at your desk or grab yourself a cup of coffee will make the start of your shift less stressful and give you more time to get things done.
DON’T: Expect everyone to be as early as you. You’re there to be at your boss’s and fellow employee’s disposal. Not the other way around.
DO: Go the extra mile to do the little things: make the morning coffee, sort the office supply room or restock shelves without being told. “Your employer will remember your initiative and be thankful they had your help,” said sophomore Emma Hegemann, who interned in her hometown over the summer. “The more they remember you, the better your recommendation when looking for other jobs.”
DON’T: Lose track of why you were hired. Although your employees may appreciate your “extra work ethic,” you’re not the maid. Vacuuming shouldn’t be above finishing a project or helping a customer on your to-do list.
And last but certainly not least…
DO: Be professional, but
DON’T: Be stiff. Make casual conversation with your co-workers and get to know them. Being personable will make your internship more enjoyable for everyone.