Advice is one of the many things I’ve taken from each internship. This advice has come in many different forms and from a variety of people. I received the most advice during my summer internship on the hill. As the youngest intern in the office, I received advice from staff, other interns, professionals meeting with the Congressman and even constituents that I gave Capitol Tours.
Now that I’ve had a variety of internships, I would like to think I have my own set of advice to bestow on others.
Here is what I’ve learned in my years as an intern:
1) Be early! Live by the words of Vince Lombardi “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late don’t bother showing up” It shows commitment and initiative to be the first in the office. This may seem small but your supervisor and other staff will take notice. I’m not a morning person, so I like to have some extra time to wake up prior to interacting with other people.
2) Share your opinion! I think we can all agree that in a certain respect D.C. would not be the city it is without interns. So if you have an opinion share it. You never know if ideas might be used for a new project or initiative. If you’re too intimidated to share you opinion, then you may be interning in the wrong office.
3) Buy lunch once a week. Sadly many of us intern without pay but you should try to find a way to go out to lunch with other interns or staff in your office. During lunch you can develop personal relationships with the people you interaction with on a daily basis. It is not good to sit at a desk all day and the relationships you develop at an internship can transform your experience in that organization.
4) Do not browse gchat, facebook, your personal twitter account, or any shopping website all day. This pretty much goes without saying. Even if you see staff going it, do not assume that it is okay to do. Regardless of how you are treated in an office, you are still an intern. Along with that, do not tweet about or post a status about your internship that can be negatively misconstrued.
5) Be conscious of what you say about your internship outside of the office! You never know who can hear you and who that person may know. Everyone knows someone!
6) Do not talk about drinking in your office, no matter how close you think you are to your supervisor, it is not professional.
7) Dress for the job you want, not the job you have! If you would not wear the outfit to church or around your grandmother then its probably not appropriate for the office. Try the fingertip test for your skirt length. As for men… for the love of god, do not wear sneakers with a suit!! Ironing, although annoying, is a useful tool for life. If you don’t know how to iron, try youtube- they have tutorials.
For now that’s the essential advice I have for interns. Stay tuned to hear more!