Hey Girls, check out these brilliant Career Commandments from Phoebe Luckhurst, a features writer at the Evening Standard.
DO be flexible. It doesn’t matter what you applied to do, the wider your experience, the more you learn, and the more valuable the internship. You’ll also meet more people within the company, who in turn will have work for you to do. That’s just maths.
DON’T get underfoot. Yes, it’s boring spending a morning refreshing your Twitter account but in a busy working environment you’re not going to be the boss’s top priority. Send an email to your supervisor asking them for work and then give them the time to find something. Nuisances get unpopular very quickly.
DO things properly. Sure, at university you could rattle off a serviceable essay in a couple of hours and spend the rest of the day watching back-to-back episodes of The Voice on catch-up but the real world doesn’t reward slackers.
Take your time, be thorough, and make sure you’ve looked at your task from every angle.
DON’T work overboard. At the other end of the spectrum, losing all sense of perspective is inadvisable: to be a real asset to the team you need to get some sleep.
DO check in. Keep your supervisors abreast of how you’re getting on but stick to a single update at the end of the day rather than a running commentary. You might not get sick of the sound of your own voice but others surely will.
DON’T be a know-it-all. Chairing the yearbook committee at school is not equivalent to managing a publishing house. Contribute suggestions based on your knowledge; don’t impose it as gospel.
DO engage. If people talk to you, it’s unlikely they’re making fun out of you. Acting as if they might be will earn you a reputation as a nutter.
DON’T get drunk. Being invited to office drinks is not a test of your stamina, it’s a straightforward social invitation. Assuming it means body shots and Bunga Bunga is not going to score you that long-term graduate job.
DO ask questions. While the ear is a magical organ, sometimes it fails you. In this instance, do not spend five minutes Googling “rhymes with…” in an attempt to decode the boss’s instructions. Just go back and ask them to repeat themselves. If you’re embarrassed, send an email.
DON’T look unprofessional. If your personal email address is something like email@example.com, change it. If it pops into your boss’s inbox, they’ll assume you’re spam.
DO keep in touch. When your placement ends, send an email to your supervisor thanking them and attaching your CV. However, do not use this as an opportunity to start a one-sided pen-pal relationship.
DON’T get creepy. Following everyone in the office on Twitter within minutes of getting your temporary log-in isn’t friendly. It’s weird.
DO listen. Keep your ears perked up for things you might be able to help with — initiative is worth your weight in gold.
DO anything. If you think making tea is beneath you, you’ve got an attitude problem.
If like us, you like a good debate, do check out the intern debate over at the Evening Standard. Question: Does work experience provide a vital leg-up or is it just hard labour? Click (here) to read the debate!