Last summer my younger sister completed a federal government internship at my agency. I felt the need to share with others college students some of the same advice I shared with her before she stepped foot in the building and some advice I shared with her along the way.
As I mentored some of the interns who were interning with her, I learned that many college students do not have someone to coach them through these types of encounters. I also learned that, at such a young age, some of them had not mastered the infamous “code switch.”
On a daily, I would make sure I imparted knowledge to at least one intern about surviving the life of corporate America during such a delicate time. It is delicate because you’re a temporary employee. The two, temporary and employee, almost seem like an oxymoron because you are held to the same standard as an employee but your spot is not yet secured. For that reason, I think the things I list out below are pivotal for an intern to keep in mind and abide by during the “intern season.”
1. Always remain pleasant, remain professional, and smile.
2. No matter what job you are given, do it to the best of your ability. Keep a grateful heart that you were given an opportunity to get your foot in the door.
3. Be sure to make a good professional impression.
4. Interact with more than just the people on your team.
5. Don’t isolate yourself.
6. If they offer training, take it.
7. Find a work mentor.
8. If the opportunity is there, shadow others.
9. Ask questions.
10. Learn about the different career paths offered.
11. Dress professionally. Even if you can dress down, dress down professionally.
12. Don’t dim your light but don’t be a know it all. Remain teachable!
13. Remember that you were chosen for a reason regardless of the backgrounds, degrees, and knowledge of other interns/people around you. God qualified you to be there!
14. Stay positive about the opportunity even if others around you are negative.
15. In your down/idle time, use your time wisely! Read, research, learn, and/or do something constructive!
16. Use your connections.
17. Don’t talk too much personal. Work is work. Home is home.
18. Never think anyone has an advantage over you. Exhalation comes from God!
19. Make new contacts that you can use later, whether it is for a recommendation letter or a job.
20. Write a paper on your experience and offer constructive feedback.
21. Thank them for the opportunity and keep the door open to go back.
23. Work hard!!!!!!
24. If you are in a new city, go out explore. Make memories and have fun.
25. Don't forget to take lots of pictures.