This post originally appeared on the blog MakingManhattan.com
By Janette Artea
With a new semester, comes new internship opportunities! And if we’ve learned anything, it’s that making an impression as an intern can set you up for success when you’re looking for your first real job. If you’ve already aced your interview and are planning your first-day outfit, here are a few things to remember as you head into Day One.
Be on time. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many interns end up scrambling to get to the office because the Starbucks line was moving at a glacial pace. If you can’t factor in coffee on your commute, skip it. Don’t walk in five minutes after your start time with a coffee and bagel in hand. (Your boss will definitely notice and take note.) Learn the office vibe, get a feel for schedules and the office food/coffee policy first.
Dress the part. In this case, dress to impress means looking like you’re a part of the team. Get a feel for what seems to be the office norm. Our advice? When you confirm your internship start date, don’t hesitate to ask about the dress code. If you have any lingering questions about what to don on the first day, do some Insta-research ahead of time. Hashtags and geotags are your best friend. See what employees and past/present interns have worn. You want to keep it professional but also on-brand.
Be flexible. You might be asked to run a coat to a VIP stylist or sit at your desk for hours to ensure the messenger picked up trunks for a shoot. Not every task you’re assigned will be glamorous, but it’s imperative that you treat each assignment as if you were just asked to sit in on a board meeting. Show your diligence to get the job done regardless of how much you may (or may not) like the task assigned. Supervisors will be watching. They may even throw a curveball assignment to test how you react. The not-so-fun tasks are paving the way for the bigger assignments you’ll be talking about years later.
Write. It. Down. Take notes. From your very first day on the job to the final touch-base with your supervisor, it’s super important that you write everything down. Don’t assume you’ll remember exactly how your boss taught you to format a deck on the first day for a presentation three weeks later. By having a pen and notebook at your side, your boss will notice your dedication to being thorough. Looking back at your notes is also helpful when tackling your assignments. Rather than asking your boss a myriad of questions, you can always reference your notes to resolve some problems you may have along the way. Your boss will appreciate how self-sufficient you are.
Finesse your social media strategy. Don’t just assume you can post your whole workday on Snapchat. Asking about their social media policy will keep you out of trouble. In some cases, companies might ask you to refrain from posting a piece of content to avoid “leaks.” Others might insist you include a hashtag or geotag to note that it’s a post about their brand. Whatever the case, make sure you know the rules backward and forward. Don’t lose the internship of a lifetime over something you could’ve prevented. One last thing: Refrain from angry tweets, posts, and tags. Do not, under any circumstances, vent or complain about your internship on social media or tag anyone on posts about negative office culture. This includes the office, coworkers, supervisors, the brand you work for, or anything pertaining to your internship, really. If you must vent, do it on the phone with your mom from the comfort of your bedroom.
Caroline Vazzana is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC.