I’ve done a number of internships in my day. I’m still doing some at the moment actually. I mean, check out my LinkedIn if you think I’m lying, and while you’re at it, I don’t mind if you leave me an endorsement. So, you can say I’m very familiar with the do’s and don’ts of internship etiquette. Here are some of the best tips for when you finally land an internship:
- Dress to impress. You probably already know this off the bat but you’d be surprised how many people still show up unpresentable. I’m not saying come in your best club outfit, but get a scope of the company you’re interning for. Are people wearing jeans and sneakers? Or, are people dressed in slacks and midi skirts? The last thing you want is to stick out like a sore thumb.
- Ask questions. You’ll feel stupid for asking a question that seems obvious, but you’ll feel even more stupid if you didn’t do something right the first time because you didn’t ask for clarification. The worst that could happen is that they think you’re incompetent, which is most likely not going to happen. More times than not, they’ll appreciate you taking the time to ask the question.
- Take on internships for experience and not for the pay. Honey, if all the internships I took paid me, I’d be stinking rich, but that’s just not the case with most opportunities. A lot of people look past internships if they don’t pay, but that shouldn’t matter when it comes time to make a decision. I was ready for gaining experience, which lead me to more and more opportunities. Come on, I started at So Fetch Daily (formerly The Daily Quirk) as an intern and now look at me. This position alone has been brought up in countless job interviews in the past. I could literally talk for hours about everything I’ve done for this site.
- Don’t be scared to take on projects that intimidate you. You might not know how to tackle the new project, it might even feel as if it will make or break your position, but how else will you learn?
- Always look busy. Don’t sit there on your phone because it’ll seem like you’re not committed. Even when you literally asked everyone if they need help or for assistance on a project, you better find something to do… even if that means cleaning your desk for no reason.
- You’re not above coffee runs. You’re the intern. You do what is asked of you even if it is fetching coffee. Your time will come eventually but for now, you gotta pay your dues.
- Don’t go in with the mindset that you’re “just the intern.” There’s often a negative stigma around the title but an intern is just as important as everyone else contributing to the team. After all, they have given you projects that they want you to complete that are important to the company.
- Practice your communication skills. Look, being the new kid and the intern is intimidating as hell. Don’t let that get to your head. Work with other people in the building other than those in the department you’re enrolled for. You never know what might happen.
- Keep your phone on you at all times. Doesn’t matter if you’re interning as a sock collector (if that’s even a thing), you never know who will call you at the most random time for some help.
- There’s a place for quirkiness and a time for seriousness. Don’t mistake your friendly banters with your boss and co-interns as something that you can take advantage of. No matter what, there is still that hierarchy system and you still need to respect everyone. They’re not your best friend. They’re your mentor.
There are many more words of wisdom that could be useful but if I wrote them all this list would be never ending. However, if you want more tips, feel free to reach me via Twitter. Speaking of that, always remember to network, because any connection you make from now on is important. Good luck, interns. You got it.