Contributed by Bryson Brewer, a senior Sociology major at Wake Forest University. Bryson recently interned in NYC with Macy’s as a Private Brand Intern in Men’s Shoes and Accessories.
1. The low man or woman on the totem pole holds great power
In a competitive job market companies know they need to attract the best talent. This means employers go to great lengths to create a positive internship experience. Take advantage of this. Reach out for informational interviews with those who would normally be hard to access.
2. The days of being surrounded by people your age are over
Diversity is a good thing! In the world of work, you’ll encounter people of varying degrees of experience and expertise. Learning how to navigate these differences socially and professionally is vital. Do the necessary research on those around you and show interests in their work. You may just learn something new.
3. Avoid using your desk as a place to nap
If you find yourself with free time, be productive. Seek to improve projects you have worked on or take the initiative and develop ideas for new projects.
4. Only turn in work you wouldn’t mind the CEO seeing
As an intern your ideas are fresh and innovative. That simple project you turned in could actually be implemented. Don’t let typos or grammatical errors discount your work.
5. Have Uber ready to use
Professionalism is important. Simple things such as arriving on time and dressing the part may help save you from making the wrong impression on the first day. Plan ahead. No, you won’t know in advance if your car breaks down or the subway is delayed. But building in time to your routine to ensure you are on time and ready to go will help.
6. What happens at happy hour stays at happy hour …sometimes
Treat out-of-office events as in-office events. These activities provide a way for senior management to get to know you better. I know it’s challenging, but hold off on any questionable activities while in the presence of coworkers.
7. Have Fun
Your internship may only last for 8-10 weeks. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not very long. Balance being the best intern possible while having fun. Get to know new people, explore the city your living in, and take risks, by trying something new. You never know what doors a single opportunity can open.