As an intern, I learned a ton of valuable corporate lessons over the summer…
June 10, 2019. It was somehow the first day of my internship and I had no idea where the past few months had gone. My mom had helped me move into my studio apartment, I had practiced the walk to work to ensure I would be on time, had my outfit planned, and I’d ordered my coffee as I left my apartment 20 minutes before our first intern meeting.
- IT’S ALL ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW… read that again. Attend all networking events and make as many connections as you can because it will likely end up being your ticket back.
- Learn the balance between professional and friendly. This was particularly hard for me because I was always taught to build authentic relationships, but sometimes it’s best to keep it professional.
- Follow up every meet and greet with a LinkedIn request and a simple “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me….”. This is an easy way to stay in touch.
- Once your internship comes to an end, send out a handwritten Thank You card to your manager, mentor, and whoever else shaped your experience.
- If possible, rent a meeting room for all Skype and conference calls.
- It is imperative that you learn both Google and Outlook Calendars. Knowing the appropriate times to schedule meetings and calls make your proposals far more successful than throwing out random times and hoping for the best.
- Ask questions. You’re there to learn and people want to hear what you have to say, but you can’t contribute if you don’t understand what’s going on.
- Elevator etiquette: always wait for the elevator to clear out before getting in… embarrassed to say I learned this one the hard way. Also, please don’t be the person who jumps into a crowded elevator just to get off on the second floor.
- Corporate offices will ALWAYS have food somewhere in the building, so hold off on those lunch plans.
- Getting feedback from mentors is huge and shouldn’t be ignored. People like to give feedback based on the things they’ve learned and if it can help you avoid their same mistakes, then it’s worth looking into.
- Take breaks. I really struggled to sit in my desk for 8 hours a day, and it first resulted in refilling my water bottle every 30 minutes, but later settled on afternoons walks with my friends to break up our day.
- Don’t set your heart on the industry you’re interning in. Use the internship as an opportunity to explore other positions and industries.
- Say yes to anything thrown your way (unless you really, REALLY can’t handle it). People remember when you help them out and it’s additional experience.
I know that some of these points might seem redundant, and a lot of them are, but others are things I really wish someone would have told me going into this position.