Sara Kline is a Campus Ambassador at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.
New York City is one of the top places for college students to get internships. Whether it is working for one of the top four accounting firms in the country to the leading fashion agency in the world, the amount of opportunities are endless and what better to place to be than in the Big Apple City!
This past summer I got the amazing opportunity to work for Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Even within the first week, I learned a significant amount about the real working world and what a huge corporation is all about. Here are five things that I think every intern should do during their first week.
1. Bring a pen and paper with you EVERYWHERE you go:
This is one of the most important things you can do as you embark on your first two weeks in the office. From passwords to errands to new assignments, there will be many things for you to write down. I guarantee that you will hear many different acronyms and names that you may not be familiar with. Make sure you write all of those down so you can ask your manager later about what they mean for your work. And whenever you are in any kind of meeting…take notes!!! You could find yourself in a situation with your manager where you caught information he or she did not; that is when those notes will come in handy. Taking notes is professional and you may even get some bonus points out of it!
2. Schedule meetings with everyone you work around:
Having one on one meetings is one of the best ways to get familiar with what you are doing, what everyone else around you is doing, and how you all work together to make the business you are a part of work. Not only does it allow you to get a lot of new knowledge, but also, if your coworkers are as nice as the ones I have met, they will give you lots of advice, which never hurts. Not to mention, it is an amazing way to network! Every single person you sit in meetings with has at the VERY least one hundred connections and these connections could benefit you greatly in the future. Make sure you get to know your job, get to know your colleagues, and best of all get to know yourself!
3. Always shake hands with everyone you meet:
Shaking hands and looking everyone in the eye may or may not be something that comes naturally to you. Regardless, you NEED to do it. It does not matter who you are meeting. You need to make a good impression on everyone. Some of my first few days consisted of walking around the office and introducing myself to people. Remember: firm handshakes, look them in the eye and tell them you are happy to meet them and excited to be there! They are just as excited that you are there. And should you get the opportunity to join in on an executive team meeting like I did, that is when this tip becomes critical. While first impressions matter with everyone you will meet, those executive members will be the ones you won’t spend a lot of time with, so to have them remember you will be significantly harder. And as I’ve been told, most interns do not shake their hands, so just by doing that, you’ll be a face and maybe even a name they remember!
4. Soak it all in and reflect:
It’s important to remember what you did your first week, your fifth week, and even your last week at your internship. I’ve found that the easiest way to keep track of what I am doing is to write a short list every day of what I did so that when I look back I can think about ways to improve how I did certain tasks. The whole point of any internship is to learn but in order to learn you need to remember! Plus, when you go to edit that resume or talk about your past experience in an interview, those notes will be critical.
5. Check out the fashion scene:
One of the most important things to remember about your job, no matter how comfortable you may be in the environment, is that you have to look and act professional at all times. You never know when one of those executive members might show up for a day in your office. And being new, you may not even know the names or faces of those people (and that could end up very poorly)! I feel that as long as you are dressed appropriately, the act will follow. Remember that working in a professional environment is conservative; guys, no shorts or flip flops and girls, no low cut shirts or short skirts. In my orientation for interns, they mentioned that it is always better to be more dressed up than it is to be dressed down. When you get there, check out what your colleagues are wearing, take note and then dive head first into the corporate shopping spree!