As a college student going into her fifth year ( I know, but hey 2 majors is worth it), I’ve done my share of researching internships, applying and interviewing. LinkedIn has become my best friend. Thankfully, St. Louis is a large city with a thriving business sector and internships are usually available.
In the past, I have worked for Enterprise Holdings as a Customer Service Coordinator Intern. Currently, I am interning at another large St. Louis based company, Nestlè Purina, in their Marketing and Public Relations department (#purinaemp).
Through the struggles of showing up on the wrong day for an interview, struggling over what to wear and practicing the art of the copy machine, I’ve had my share of experiences. Here are the 4 Basic Rules of Interning that I have learned:
- Always Be On Time
If there is one thing that working in a large city has taught me is that traffic is unpredictable. Some days I can get to the gym, grab a coffee and still make it into the office with fifteen minutes to spare. Other times, I’m sitting in traffic for 90 minutes wishing for the car in front of me to move an inch – just one.
Whether it’s showing up for an interview or for your first day on the job, early is my definition of on time. If your interview is at 11 in the morning, be there half an hour early. If you work the regular 9 – 5 shift, be there at 8:45. Promptness is a key to success.
- Be Detail Oriented
I’m a big picture kind of gal. The one thing that I’ve had to learn is to pay attention to all of the little details. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot to correctly format a Word document. Or the times I forgot to CC someone on an email. They seem like miniscule details, but they matter. Now, I take my time to review every project, paper and document before I send them out.
- Dress the Part
Before your first day on the job, make sure you know the company’s dress code. My first internship was formal business attire. Males had to wear suits, or shirts with a tie. Females had to wear a pant or skirt suit. It was intimidating to a college sophomore. The week before I started, I scoured Pinterest looking for styles. You can check out my Style board here. It turns out the black is my power color, I can’t wear heels and I love blazers.
- Ask – All – The Questions
Don’t be afraid. I repeat, don’t be afraid. You are there to learn about business or art or whatever your field may be. Yes, you may be the youngest there. Yes, you may have the most to prove. You’re also in the best position to learn. Questions are expected, so ask them.
When you’re going in for your next interview, remember these tips. Don’t be afraid. You’ve got this!
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