Internships can open doors for future career options, give you plenty of chances to network and get your name out there, and help you gain valuable firsthand experience in the field.
Based on my experiences as a former and current intern, I've put together a list of some questions you should answer now to prepare for your first day, final day and every day in between.
- Where exactly are you interning? OK, so of course by now you should probably know what company (or business) you are going to be an intern for. And yes, you probably know where it is geographically-speaking. But what about the values of the company? What about its mission statement and goals? Do you know who's in charge? Take some time to research the company or business a bit and get to know it as well as you can so you can be as informed as possible.
- What is expected of you? You should establish early on what your specific responsibilities will be as an intern. In general, a good intern is one who comes prepared and is eager and willing to work, doing whatever is needed. You should have the attitude that no task is too big or too small. Stay organized and professional, and be friendly to your peers.
- Where do you park? Knowing the answer to this seemingly simple question is important because searching for a parking spot can often take up more time than you anticipated, which can make you late. A good rule of thumb is to always give yourself some extra time (about 15 minutes) for the unknown. If you make a habit out of coming in late and looking disheveled, you won't be leaving the best impression on your mentors and co-workers.
- What will you eat for lunch? You may be surrounded by fast food, fancy bistros, cutesy diners, cafeteria options in the building, or maybe nothing at all. Plan accordingly so you don't end up either hungry or spending all your money on unhealthy or expensive options. Alternate days by eating a packed lunch in the fresh air one day and then checking out that little bistro the next. Also, carrying small, healthy snacks in your bag is a smart idea to keep your energy up and a growling stomach down before and after your lunch break.
- What will you wear? Of course your fashion choices have a huge impact on how you are perceived during your internship. The dress code for each place is a little different, so it will be important to get a feel for this as early as possible. If you had an interview already, try to recall what the overall look was in the office (or building or room). If you have no idea, your best bet for your first day is to stick with a fairly conservative ensemble infused with a small dose of something that stands out.
Being the new intern can seem daunting and unnerving, but with a dose of confidence and a few chic and conservative pieces in your wardrobe, you'll be able to conquer anything.