E-mail etiquette is a key part of any professional business – and students need to master it as soon as they can.
At internships you learn many skills to put on your resume, from updating databases to pitching ideas to your bosses. But it is the skills learned that you can’t put on your resume that teach you how to carry yourself in the office or life in general.
Below is list of skills you learn at your internship that will follow if not guide you throughout your life ventures.
While in the office you are surrounded by successful people with whom you are lucky enough to work with daily.
“Make sure everyone knows who you are,” Michelle Famulare said, junior at Fordham University, and former intern at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Do not be invisible. Introduce yourself to everyone even if you do not directly work with them.”
Learning how to talk to professionals is crucial to your success as an intern and future successes in your desired career path.
“You should network as much as possible with the internship supervisor and employees, but also with your peers,” advised Ari Blau, a New York University graduate and former intern of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Daily Show with John Stewart.
Networking with peers is especially important as they are looking for jobs just like you. It might be competitive at first, but once they land a job you have a new connection at a new company.
Mastery of Transportation
Whether getting to work or going on a run for your boss you learn how to effectively travel.
It is smart to always have a metro card handy with sufficient fares so you don’t risk missing a train. Interns most certainly master public transportation, knowing all appropriate lines, stops, and transfers. Interns must also master hailing a taxi. It is not as simple as waving your hands in the air. You have to know your destination and which direction to go, so that you can catch a cab going either uptown or downtown.
Successfully conquering transportation requires assertiveness.
“I have learned to be ruthless when it comes to anything in life, so it doesn’t bother me if I have to steal a taxi from someone else on the street,” said Blau.
Office Etiquette (aka Basic Manners)
Living on a college campus it is too easy to forget basic manners as you are surrounded by students.
One thing boys don’t usually do on campus, that men always do in the office is let ladies on the elevator first. Office manners are crucial.
“Even if you’re in an elevator or the bathroom with someone, always say hello or give them a smile,” Katie White, a student at Cornell University and former intern on Capitol Hill, said. “Don’t whip out your phone and ignore them. That’s rude, and anyone older than about 20 will probably be offended.”
Simple manners or holding the door for someone and making eye contact make you respected in and out of the office.
Your manners must stick with you even behind the comforts of a computer screen.
Always have your e-mail open at a computer and always respond to e-mails. Just as you would not blatantly ignore your boss if they were talking with you in person, do not ignore them online.
Additionally, it is smart to always send a greeting and sign off with each e-mail. Professional and educated sounding e-mails are important. Your boss may occasionally send smiley faces, or “LOLs,” but is best to refrain from getting into that habit.
You also should not respond sarcastically to an e-mail reprimanding you for something you did wrong. You will send thousands of e-mails in your life, so it is important to master proper e-mail etiquette.
How to Dress
You were born into this world in your birthday suit, not a business suit. Many students don’t know how to properly dress for work, and it varies for each office.
“If you’re concerned about how to dress, take cues from other employees, not other interns,” emphasized White.
Dressing appropriately is key for being respected in the office. Learning to dress is a process, but as your professional style develops you learn to dress better everywhere you go.
The best advice wherever you are is: “you would rather be more professional than less,” Allison Wolf, a student at Virginia Tech and former intern with the FDA, said.
Being an intern is a great opportunity to learn so much about your desired industry. While there your job is to help in any way you are asked, but once you move on from your internship you will see everything you have done and learned makes your life easier in return.
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