Unless your internship consists of doing botanical research in the rainforest, then you most likely intern in an office. As an office intern, there are a few things you can do to help maintain a smooth daily business flow. Having knowledge about office operations will not only make your day easier, but will also impress your boss and employees. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way.
- How to take a phone message – These are the basic things a phone message should contain: To whom is this message intended for, who is it from (include company and title of the person), date and time of the call, best phone number to reach this person, the message itself and a note saying that you were the one that took the message. The latter is just in case the person to whom the message was intended for has any questions regarding the message.
- When and who to &CC& – When you ‘CC’ someone, you send a copy of an email that was addressed to someone else to another person. Depending on the situation, you should CC the department in charge of the topic that is being addressed in the email. For example, if you are assigned the billing of customers, CC the accounting department.
- Time zones, know them! – I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Knowing domestic time zones comes in handy when you need to contact an office on the other coast at their appropriate business hours. Avoid calling the California office at 6 a.m., when there’s no one in yet, or the New York office at 8 p.m., when everybody has gone home for the day. Remember, If it’s 1 p.m. in California (PST), add 1 hour for MST (2 p.m.), 2 for CT (3 p.m.), and 3 for EST (4 p.m.). Add or subtract hours depending on your location.
- Sorting the mail – This is very simple: Just separate the bulk of promotional offers every company gets from the really important things, like checks and government notices. If your boss has no interest in any of the promotional offers, then recycle them!
- Keep your email organized – Outlook and Gmail have great filters and labeling options. Categorizing your emails makes them easier to find later.
Being a helpful and efficient office intern will surely get you on the right path and will help you achieve the recognition you crave.