Congratulations, you have gotten your internship! This happens to be one of your first roles in a professional setting. How you handle yourself and how others perceive you will play a large role in your success during this internship and may have lasting effects for the future.
For example, if you ignore the receptionist every time you arrive to work, there is a pretty good chance that this will negatively impact future references and any chance at employment at that company. Did you know that at most companies the receptionist, secretary and/or the executive or administrative assistants have a huge impact on their bosses and most definitely serve as a part of the leadership team? These are not people to ignore.
Before you start your internship or if you are in the middle of doing your fall internship it is not too late to learn some basic office etiquette skills to help develop you into a real professional.
Here are five tips to get you started:
If you meet someone for the first time, or you find yourself on the elevator with another person, smile like you mean it and say hello. The impression you make on others is reliant of 55% of what they see and 38% of what they hear!
Say please and thank you.
Yes, mom was right; always use good manners. Listen to others, do not interrupt and ask for help politely.
In the work setting, you are not texting. In fact, you will most likely have to learn how to send emails to clients and co-workers, and in some cases how to write proposals, memos, reports and more. These documents not only need to be error free, but they also must be written with correct grammar. Emails should never contain emoticons J, all caps or emojis. Please make sure there is a subject line and that attachments are included. You should also never send an attachment without a short message to the recipient, even if they know what it is about.
Put the cell phone away.
Your professors and parents complain about your cell phones being visible, and so will your co-workers and supervisors. We can see you when you are texting, even under the table or desk. Yet, in some work settings it may be acceptable for cell phones to be out and even have the volume turned on. But remember, you are the intern who is trying to make a good impression; leave your cell phone in your bag or desk, shut off the volume, do not take personal calls at work. If you have a genuine emergency and you find yourself at a meeting where you need to have your phone on you, let the lead of the meeting know about your situation beforehand. Nothing is more annoying than cell phones ringing during a meeting.
Treat others with respect.
In the workplace, it is important to show respect no matter how busy or stressed out you are. Shake hands and stand up when someone enters the room, knock on office doors before entering. Do not curse, watch your tone of voice, and do not gossip. If you make a mistake, own up to it and then fix the problem.
Who knows, these small steps may largely impact your future career path. Good luck!