As internships begin, having a properly stocked tote bag is an easy way to ensure a great first impression and continued success throughout the summer. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite essentials for fellow female interns — and for all the new graduates out there starting their first jobs!
1. Folder with resume: You are bound to receive many documents — important or not — and you never know when you’ll have to pull one of them out to make a (great) reference in the weekly round table meeting. Always carry several copies of your updated resume! You never know who you are going to meet in the elevator, on a coffee break or what kind of introductions are, literally, around the corner.
2. Planner: Staying organized, being on time and meeting deadlines are three of the fundamental characteristics any intern should have. Always carry your planner with you, whether it’s to jot down potential event times, remember your boss’s birthday or be able to answer the question, “Are you free next week?”
3. Notebook & black or blue pen: Your boss will give you multiple tasks at once. It is your job to remember every detail and stay on top of your workload. Also, use your notebook to write down names of important people you will meet. Carry your notebook and pen at all times; you never know where you will find your next connection.
4. USB drive: You could save the day when the email server is slow or someone’s login information just isn’t working. Technology is far from 100% reliable, and you should be in the habit of saving all your important documents and projects on here anyway. Protect your weekend trip to the beach and avoid the possibility of a call from your boss that your computer crashed and they need that presentation — that you only saved to your desktop — by saving everything to this nifty little plastic device!
5. Water bottle & snacks: Always keep a water bottle and snack handy. Those hourly trips to the water fountain will be a major distraction and your boss may think you aren’t dedicated to your work. For those long days you have to work through lunch, you’ll be thankful for that snack.
6. Two forms of ID: Most offices are going to require a badge and security paperwork, and just in case there is any question of who you are or what your social security number is, make sure to have multiple forms of identification with you! It can save your boss and your office a lot of hassle, and having to drive home to grab these things isn’t going to make anyone happy.
7. Wallet: This may be obvious, but what’s in your wallet is more important — make sure to carry both cash and a credit or debit card with you! Having your university ID card is also a good idea, as a lot of cafes and stores offer student discounts. Make sure to ask your boss if you can lock your wallet up when you’re not at your desk, just to be on the safe side!
8. Sweater or blazer: Every office has a different dress code, and on the first day it’s always best to come overdressed. After you get a feel for the general wardrobe, make sure to carry a sweater or blazer with you just in case — formal meetings can be scheduled in fifteen minutes, and sometimes the AC is just a little too much to handle.
9. Misc. Necessities bag: This handy little cosmetic bag shouldn’t be with you just in the office, but should be thrown into your every day tote as well! Some example items include chapstick, bandaids (for those nasty heels that are just too cute), eyedrops (pollen or computer screens are always the culprit), mini sewing kit, gum, safety pins, hair accessories, tissues, floss, Advil, hand sanitizer, feminine products and extra contact lenses or glasses.
10. Newspaper: We prefer USA TODAY, but we may be a bit biased. Regardless of your internship, staying on top of current events, knowing who won American Idol last night or where a presidential candidate is campaigning can be good conversation topics with your boss, at lunch or with your fellow intern.
Do you have essentials that we’ve forgotten? Tweet at USA TODAY College with the item and we’ll add it to the list!
Madeleine Brown is a junior at Penn State majoring in PR and is an intern for USA TODAY College during the summer of 2012.
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