Subject: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My First Internship - Caroline Watkins.
These are important so, LISTEN UP!
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This is something I wish I knew from day one. When your employer hires you, he/she does not expect you to hit the ground running and know everything off the bat. The more questions you ask at the beginning of the internship, the better off you will be; if you ask an obvious question long into your internship, it definitely doesn’t put you in the best position.
2. Always arrive on time and dress for the occasion
Although these two things are self-explanatory, they are incredibly important. During your internships, especially for your first internship, it’s vital to always put your best foot forward. That might mean waking up fifteen minutes earlier than you are used to, just to put on a fresh face of makeup and beat the morning traffic so you clock-in on the dot. However, little things like this will pay off in the long run—it will show that you are dedicated and enthusiastic about what you do.
3. If you finish your required tasks, ask if there is more you can do
This is one of the biggest lessons I learned from my first internship. Typically, when you are assigned an internship role, you are given fairly specific tasks that match some of your strongest skills. However, sometimes in the beginning internships especially, you may feel as though you are limited in your role. If you finish what is expected of you before the end of the workday, ask your boss if there is anything else that you can do; this might lead to more responsibilities and larger opportunities down the line.
4. Befriend your co-workers
This is a piece of advice that also saved my life during my first internship. For the first few weeks, I felt pretty lonely in the office. I was afraid to reach out to people on a personal basis, out of fear that I would appear to be unprofessional. However, taking those small moments while going on coffee runs with your employees or clocking out together at the end of the day to spark conversation, can totally transform your experience at any internship. Befriending your co-workers and getting to know them on a personal level can lead to you feeling more comfortable, and overall happy, throughout your internship.
5. Carry yourself with confidence
This is something that took me a long time to achieve, and I still in fact struggle with this today. Especially for people who tend to be more introverted, carrying yourself with confidence at a stressful internship, or working at an unfamiliar environment, can do wonders. Even if you “fake it till you make it,” looking confident about what you are doing can show your boss that you’re dedicated, responsible and trustworthy. Becoming confident in yourself takes time; start by keeping good posture at your desk and smiling to fellow employees when you pass them in the hallway. And for those difficult work moments, always remind yourself that you can, instead of telling yourself that can’t.