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  • Aly Seidel-Thorn 1:31 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Professionalism, , work wear   

    What to Wear? 

    My supervisor wears polo shirts, the VP of my department wears dresses, and one of the other interns wears ball caps. It can be near impossible to understand the “business casual” look, especially for women. How short can your skirt be? How high is too high of a heel? It’s 90 degrees out, do I seriously have to wear a bolero with this dress? Here are a few tips on how to navigate that tricky professional work wear.

    (More …)

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    • Julia Beyer 7:06 pm on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your tips, Aly. I am including a link to this in the SOC Spot Newsletter.

  • Brittany Horowitz 11:27 pm on April 20, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Professionalism, professors, , thank you   

    Always Say Thank You 

    Another piece of advice that I received from an SOC professor that is so simple yet often overlooked is to always say thank you. Remember, during your internship, your bosses and coworkers are taking the time to educate you in an industry you are interested in, and you are gaining a lot of knowledge that others would really appreciate. It is important to show others that you are not taking your lucky opportunity for granted. By showing appreciation, those you work with will appreciate you even more.

    Snail mail and handwritten notes have become things of the past, but I still enjoy sending and receiving mail to friends and families. It shows a little extra effort and time was put into sending a message, which is why I always write handwritten thank you notes to those I worked with for the semester. I also make sure to write genuine notes because there is nothing worse than receiving a letter that appears rushed and copy and pasted from previous thank you letters. By pointing out something you really enjoyed about the internship or a piece of knowledge you gained, you’re showing the company that you actually benefited from the position. A genuine and meaningful card can go a long way, for it can leave a lasting impression. Anyone can write a quick email, but people get so many emails these days that they are quickly read and then deleted. You want to make sure your departure from a position is not quickly forgotten like an email in a spam box. You want to be remembered.

    B.

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  • Brittany Horowitz 11:01 pm on April 19, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , connecting, , , office etiquette, Professionalism   

    Stay Connected 

    A professor of mine just gave my class some great advice for when we enter the professional world after graduating, but a lot of the tips also apply to those interning now. One piece of advice really stuck out in my mind, and I thought I’d share.

    She recommended, “Let your coworkers and bosses know where you are. If you need to be away from your desk for a while, then leave a note, shoot an email, or write a message on your whiteboard. Don’t leave people wondering where you went.”

    This advice really made me think because I had never really thought about how important it is to stay connected with who you work with while in the office. You might just assume people know what you’re doing or where you are. It’s such a simple thing that most people probably overlook. However, what if your boss comes looking for you to assign an important task, but you are never at your desk? You are probably off working on an assignment, or you stepped out of the office to complete a task that another coworker gave you. Unfortunately, if you never tell people where you’re going or what you’re doing they might think you’re flakey, or they might think you’re off getting your nails done or making personal phone calls.

    Appearing unreliable or disconnected from the workplace is a terrible reputation to build, so make sure to remember to stay connected. It’s as simple as leaving a note for others to see along with your cell phone number attached. If you’re out of the office completing an assignment, make sure to leave your cell phone on in case anyone needs to reach you immediately. By being available, your coworkers will want to connect with you rather than disconnect you from what is going on in the office.

    B.

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    • John Charles 3:49 pm on April 23, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is an excellent piece of advice, Brittany. Sometimes perception is stronger than reality, so it is smart to state explicitly where you are and what you are doing.

  • Brittany Horowitz 1:53 am on April 16, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Professionalism   

    Listen and Learn 

    Sometimes students can forget that internships are meant for learning. People get caught up with opportunities of networking and getting a foot in the door, but internships should be used to learn from the company or organization a student is with. During college, students get the chance to test out professions and see if they like them. That is a luxury, which is why I suggest doing as many internships as possible to get a feel for various companies or areas of a field.

    That being said, students should take advantage of this great opportunity to learn by listening up and asking questions! I am a strong believer in sticking to the following advice whenever you are going to your internship:

    1. Be positive – no one likes a negative employee who doesn’t appear to be enjoying their time with a company

    2. Ask questions – you’re there to learn, so ask questions to increase your knowledge and decrease your chances of making mistakes

    3. Talk – you don’t want to be known as the silent intern, so speak up in meetings, discussions in the lunch room, wherever you see an opportunity to make an intelligent comment, etc.

    4. Enjoy criticism – instead of looking at it as criticism, you should view any suggestions or corrections by your boss as critiques. From these critiques, you will be able to improve your work!

    5. Volunteer – it’s important to take the initiative and see what you can do for anyone in your department. They will be thankful, and you will be remembered.

    These are some tips that I follow and find useful in my internship experience. I hope they help others too!

    -Brittany

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  • Brittany Horowitz 11:37 pm on March 27, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Professionalism, ,   

    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions 

    At the beginning of a new position, it can feel like you’re in a foreign country when you walk into your new office. New faces, new work practices, new rules, and the list goes on. It’s important to remember that asking question is vital in becoming adjusted to your new environment and surroundings. If you don’t ask questions, then you’re more likely to make mistakes.

    It can be intimidating to ask certain “silly” questions, such as how to use the phones or company rules for lunch breaks; however, how will you ever know the answers if you don’t ask? If you make a mistake while setting up a conference call for the whole office, or if you’re gone too long for your lunch break, it is not a valid excuse when you say, “I didn’t know.” Just ask! It’ll be a weight off of your shoulders once you learn about how the office runs, and then you’ll be less likely to make easy to avoid mistakes.

    Lastly, don’t start asking a million questions until you have read your company’s office handbook or rule book. Usually, a company will have an FAQs document that goes over basic office information, such as dress code and sick leave protocol. It would be bothersome to your HR department to have to answer questions that have already been written out for your convenience. Don’t make that amateur mistake. Try to see if the answers are available first, then seek further assistance when necessary. All in all, gaining new information will make adjusting to a new office even easier!

    B.

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  • Brittany Horowitz 2:34 am on March 21, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Professionalism,   

    This isn’t what I signed up for 

    I am lucky enough to say that I have never had a bad internship experience. My positions have always met or exceeded my expectations, and the types of work I have been assigned have always been educational and interesting. However, in high school, I did have random after-school jobs that did not always live up to the job descriptions I was first given by my future bosses, so I know what it is like to feel unhappy about a new position.

    It’s awful when you expect your job to be an educational and beneficial experience, and then you end up having to get employees coffee or make pages after pages of copies for your boss. I have heard horror stories.

    The good news is, there is a solution! It is unfortunate when it comes to this point, but even as an intern you have the right to speak up. Of course, I don’t recommend rushing into your supervisor’s office and complaining/yelling/whining/crying. Instead, you can voice your concern in a professional manner. Explain what expectations you had for the position, and carefully outline the types of tasks you thought you were going to be given. You shouldn’t be demanding or bossy, obviously.

    Your supervisor might not realize that you are unhappy with the tasks that you have been given thus far, so if you don’t speak up changes will not be made. Internships are supposed to be for learning and for gaining experience before you enter the job market, so make the most of your position. You won’t learn anything from sitting around unhappily counting down the minutes until your day is over. Instead, learn how to speak up. That in itself is a learning experience.

    -B.

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  • Brittany Horowitz 2:04 am on March 20, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Professionalism   

    Common Mistakes Made by Interns 

    After having a handful of internships throughout my college career, I have gained a lot of knowledge on what is appropriate behavior and what should be avoided in the professional world. I sometimes forget that there are students who have never interned before, or who have never worked in an office environment before, so they are unaware of the damaging mistakes they are making from day one. Here are some of my tips for great office etiquette:

    Dress appropriately: What exactly does “appropriately” even mean? It means, if you look in the mirror in the morning and ask yourself, “Hmm, is this okay for work?” then don’t wear it. Don’t wear it if it’s too short/too casual/too wrinkled/too old/too tight – the list goes on. No one says that you need to go out and buy an entire new wardrobe in order to look appropriate for your job. Not everyone can afford that. As long as you look like you put effort into your appearance and didn’t just roll out of bed, then I think you’re in the clear. Take note of what others wear in your office, and then dress similarly. If it’s business casual, then go for it. Just make sure you never look out of place.

    Put the cell phone down (and on silent): You weren’t hired to text all day. If that were the case, then every college student would be qualified for your position. Prove to your bosses that you care about your role in the office, and leave your text messages for your lunch break or after you leave the office. You don’t want to become known as, “That intern who was always on their phone.” It’s unprofessional to focus on your private life when you are supposed to be focusing on your work. If there is an actual personal emergency that you need to take care of, then step outside and take your phone call. Lastly, put your phone on silent. No one wants to hear your ringer go off throughout the day. Vibrate counts too. Sometimes, that is even louder and annoying.

    Don’t be late: I cringe at the thought of someone walking into the office late. It’s even worse when they are casual about it and don’t realize how unprofessional their behavior really is. Being on time is not that difficult. It’s all about time management. It is one thing if you’re accidently late because of uncontrollable circumstances, such as delays on the Metro or a personal emergency; however, Starbucks being really crowded during your morning coffee run or snoozing your alarm seven times do not count as valid excuses. If you make a habit out of being late, then your boss will make a habit out of leaving you out of important office projects. It’s only fair. Being late shows that you do not care about being professional, and why should such behavior be rewarded? It’s the little things that really reflect your attitude towards your job. Don’t mess this one up.

    B.

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  • Brittany Horowitz 2:59 am on March 7, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: absent, calling out, , , Professionalism, Sick days   

    Calling Out: Sick Days in the Real World 

    I blogged last semester, but let me reintroduce myself. My name is Brittany Horowitz, and I am a senior studying Public Communication and Marketing. This semester, I am not interning with the same company. For privacy reasons, I will not be stating my exact internship position.

    Recently, I became very ill with pneumonia. It was extremely inconvenient to get so sick since I have multiple responsibilities here: classes, my internship, and babysitting jobs. Due to how serious my condition was, I was unable to attend classes for quite some time, and I also had to call out of work. This experience made me reflect on how your personal life can interrupt your professional life.

    I felt awful for having to miss a few days of my internship. I hate calling out, and I hate feeling like I am behind on my work assignments. However, my supervisor made me realize an important thing after she told me, “You are human. You can’t help that you’re sick. Rest up.” I exhausted myself with the amount of apologies I gave my supervisor for my absences, but it finally dawned on me that stressing out and driving myself crazy would not help the situation. Everyone gets sick. Things happen. It is how you handle these events after they occur that is vital in your professional world.

    It’s so important to contact your supervisor to let him or her know about your absence, do not wait until the last minute to notify the appropriate person, get a doctor’s note if you seek medical attention, and most importantly, rest! The worst thing you can do is push yourself too hard and go back to work too early. You don’t want to make yourself even more ill, and you do not want to get anyone in your office sick. Once you can get back to work, work hard, and make up for lost time. Just remember, you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of your work.

    -B.

     

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    • Francine Blume 1:58 pm on March 7, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      You make a really good point. Not only is it important to stay home when you’re sick so that you can get better, it’s important not to going to work and spread your germs. Nobody wants a martyr to come into work before their healthy because they’re just going to end up being out longer and making everybody else sick! On the practical side, yes, tell your supervisor as soon as possible. And when you go to the doctor, get a note. My doctor automatically offers one, anyway.

  • Brittany Horowitz 6:11 pm on December 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: C.fox, , , Professionalism,   

    Farewell, C.Fox! 

    Unfortunately, this is my last week interning with C.Fox Communications. It has been a great semester, and I have learned so much! This week, I will be closing all of my projects for my various clients. The office is throwing me a farewell party on my last day, which is very nice. I am looking forward to it. Lastly, our staff holiday party is next week, so that should be fun!

    As mentioned in previous posts, I had never interned during the actual academic year, so this was new to me. I found it to be extremely  worth while, and it was a lot easier than I had imagined. It was all about time management and being flexible with my schedule. In the end, I did not find it overwhelming with balancing my class schedule. It became a routine, and I loved it.

    I am sad to leave this office, but I know I will stay connected with my coworkers and bosses. Even though my internship is ending I get to forever hold on to the lessons I learned and the relationships I built.

    Thanks for an amazing semester, C.Fox!

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  • Brittany Horowitz 8:55 pm on November 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , gossip, , Professionalism, water cooler   

    Skip the Water Cooler 

    In movies and television, office environments always incorporate the water cooler scene. Employees are shown around the water cooler gossiping and chatting about coworkers or bosses. Let’s not make this into reality. Gossiping at work, especially about your coworkers or boss, is an extreme no no, in my book. I cringe at the thought of interns partaking in such behavior, so I thought I’d blog about it.

    Office gossip is something that happens in all different types of professional environments; however, ironically, it is the most unprofessional thing you can do. Luckily, my office has not fallen victim to office gossip. I am especially happy about that. However, there will be times when we will work in environments where people will gossip and bad mouth their coworkers or bosses. It’s important to stay clear of such behavior. It gives off the wrong impression, most importantly. It’ll show a bad trait in yourself to those you work with, and if your boss catches you, it will make you look unprofessional. You should be working, not chatting about irrelevant topics.

    It’s important to voice your opinions and concerns, however. So, don’t keep silent if you’re unhappy. My office conducts one-on-ones where everyone meets once a week with their supervisor. I get to chat with my supervisor about the work I am doing and about any concerns or questions I have about my tasks or assignments. By allotting this time to employees’ happiness, it shows how concerned my bosses are with the organization and happiness of their office environment. I find it very useful. So, skip the water cooler, and use your time for more important tasks, such as actually doing your work.

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