6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Interning

Internships are officially the new black. Having a small handful of quality experiences, references and a sparkly clean degree is just the beginning of an uphill career. Here are just six things I wish I’d known before interning.

Dress conservatively on your first day

Unless you’ve been creepily spying on your soon-to-be office, or had a sneaky glance at everyone else’s dress during your interview, it’s better to dress conservatively on your first day. Or all the days.

If the dress is mostly casual, try smart casual. Chic and stylish? Throw on a dressy suit jacket. It’s infinity better to be known as the well-dressed intern than the casual one.

The response you want to avoid.

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, unless it’s a stupid one

Don’t be afraid of asking (what feels like literally) all the questions, particularly during the first month of your internship. Being eager to learn, grow and respect the company is one of the best ways to show that you’re serious about your position, whether it’s an unpaid or paid internship.

That said, if you have to ask for something more than twice it will begin to irritate your co-workers and make you look careless. Have a system in place for trivial things like passwords, access codes and step-by-step instructions on your more important tasks. Even if you never refer to them again, it’s better than having to ask for a login three times in a row.

Speaking of which – notebooks are really freaking handy

You might think putting things like passwords and logins in your phone, on your desktop, or saving them in your email is faster, but having a physical go-to booklet has saved my fat buttocks plenty of times.

It also keeps all your internship needs in one neat place that you can’t accidentally delete.

Don’t expect grunt-work free days

Everyone knows that internships aren’t all fun and glory, but secretly we’re hoping to be “The Chosen One” among the litter. That’s okay, as long as you don’t show it with overinflated arrogance and general dick-headery.

Showing you’re capable (and eager) to do grunt work is the baby step to bigger responsibilities, so suck it up.

People notice

Treating your internship like a job is one of the best commitments you can make. Be respectful to everyone (even that one annoying worker who refuses to treat you like a normal person), be punctual and be friendly.

Whether it pays off with a job post-internship or a glowing reference (hopefully several), it’ll be worth it.

And it never hurts to bring in cake

You’d be surprised by how effective chocolate cake can be.

Feature image: The Intern