My internship experiences have taught me several important things that I believe everyone should definitely keep in mind, and would lead to success during their first internship/job.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind before starting your first job:
1. No one cares why you can’t make it to the office.
We receive last minute excuses too often (i.e. a family emergency an hour before you need to be in the office). No one cares; welcome to the business world. If you can’t make it into the office, specify what you will do to make it up. Inform your team, hand off assignments, and let them know when/how you will make up for your lost time.
2. Always have your notebook with you.
You should be taking notes when talking to anyone in the office, especially when you’re talking to your boss/team leader or someone with more experience than you. If your hand isn’t tired, you aren’t taking enough notes. You might think you know which details are most important, but you really don’t.
3. Ask questions, but never twice.
Always ask questions when something is unclear. No one wants you to spend time doing something the wrong way. At the same time, don’t waste anyone’s time asking something that has already been answered.
4. Think solutions, not problems.
Yes, the first step to finding a solution is identifying a problem. But don’t leave it to someone else to figure it out for you. Always have possible solutions. They are always there.
5. A 24-hour response time to emails is mandatory.
This policy is necessary for the firm/team to function properly and effectively. Never drop off the radar, ever.
6. Always have a clear mind of your next step.
Before stepping into the office in the morning, you should have a list of your high, medium, and low priorities today. Never wander around in office. At the end of the day, again list out the next steps, with high, medium, low priorities that need to be done in the next working day.
7. Don’t be afraid to hand off assignments to teammates.
Deadlines should always be met, even when something comes up. In an ideal world, everyone in the team would play a part in every task at hand. Collaborate!
8. Leverage your boss’s time effectively.
Don’t ask him a question until you’ve reached out to everyone else on the team. Documents handed off to him should be clear and concise. Show him results, not processes. Use your common sense.
9. Have a great attitude at all times.
Every assignment is important. Everyone is worth your respect. Do things because you want to, not because you have to. Slap a smile on your face. Be dedicated.
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