The Do's & Don'ts of a Summer Internship
Finally, January is over! You’ve made it past those winter blues, past those dreaded exams; you’ve made it through the tunnel and out onto the other side. And, to top it off, you may have just scored that dream summer internship (congrats by the way), or decided you would like to spend your summer taking part in one, the other side is pretty sweet right now. Plus, with England looking so good at the 6 Nations, this year is starting to shape up to be quite something.
But lets not get ahead of ourselves. Whilst we can’t do much about the outcome of the Rugby, we can help you make sure your internship goes as well as it possibly can, for both those of you who have secured one, and those of you who are considering it. So, here are our top do’s and don’ts for when Day 1 comes, and you want to make an impression that will last (in a good way), but also want to gain the best experience possible.
1. Do respect workplace boundaries. As with any new job venture, don’t be that person on a power trip acting like it’s all a scene from House of Cards. It isn’t a good idea to act like you know best, you are just going to insult people and overstep your mark, as sad as it is, as The New Person. And, as an Intern, you’re there to learn. Be polite, observe and absorb everything that is happening. As your mum would say, "remember your Please's and Thank You's". Yeah, thanks mum.
2. Do ensure your employer also remains respectful. Previous point being made, you might not be an actual employee, but an internship should be a rewarding, stimulating experience. If you are finding yourself still only memorising the office tea order by Week 2 , then you should feel like you can ask for greater responsibilities. You can ask in a respectful way, and stress to your line manager that you are happy to do whatever comes your way, but also want to get involved in some new challenges you haven't come across before.
3. Don’t be shy. WARNING: LIFE SPOILER AHEAD! All under 25s have literally no clue how to ‘adult’ - we promise you, we are all winging it. With that in mind, you may feel out of your depth during your internship. But, try not to retreat into yourself and let this put you off being bold and brave in your work. Try to remain calm and confident, and keep going. If you do find yourself feeling really uncertain about a task, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone has to start somewhere - and remember it is always better to ask than to do it all wrong because you were scared to ask. Fake it 'til you make it!
4. Don’t underdress! Don’t wear clothes that are too informal. Whilst we all love our comfy trainers, they are not going to be appropriate, especially on your first week, no matter how 'chill' the office vibes are. So think ahead, send an email asking about the dress code before your first day. Whatever they come back with, dress slightly smarter than that. It will show that you are serious about the role and set a high first impression.
5. Finally, don’t get involved in any office drama. Offices are living creatures, it is important you feel out how to behave and respect the cultural norm. So, suss this out and pick up on others' way of doing things. If there isn't a lot of conversation in the office, then don't spend all day trying to speak to people. If the office is chatty, get involved in a couple of conversations. If people take turns in doing the tea round, offer yourself up (this is crucial to survival). You may also find the office has some drama, or gossip going around. Don’t get involved. No matter how juicy the gossip - you are an Intern and you are temporary, however your time could feel like an Ice Age if you get involved with the wrong person. Trust us on this one.
Follow these 5 tips this summer and you will shine. Remember, if you make a strong impression at this internship, it can often lead to a job offer. Which is the dream. If you have ever had any awkward internship or work experience times, comment them below and we can share the pain! (And maybe laugh a little...)