How to Be Taken Seriously in the Office This Summer

By: Sydney Meister, GWWIB Ambassador

With the summer right around the corner, a spirit of frenzy fills the air as students scramble to find that perfect internship, part-time job, or mentoring opportunity. Although it is important to find an opportunity that suits you, it is also important to help your new office transition smoothly into having interns around. It is important to maintain your professionalism and appropriateness throughout the entire summer. You should act, dress and speak in a way that promotes being a positive addition to the work environment.

So, here are some tips for doing just that.

Speak Slowly and Clearly.

Common criticisms of our generation are the ways in which we communicate. It is important to speak slowly and clearly, and truly have something to say. Although opinions, ideas, and even criticism may be encouraged in the office, be aware of not only what you say, but how you say it. Make sure your points are coherent and thoughtful when speaking to your superiors.

Make Sure You have an Appropriate Physical Appearance.

Although you may be wearing your favorite blazer, everyone can still see last night’s crumpled up dress underneath. Not only is it important to dress the part of the star intern, it is also important to prioritize your responsibilities. Maybe going out last night wasn’t the smartest decision? Maybe you think no one realizes how bad that morning-after headache is? But, maybe you need to learn to balance better? Be sure that when you show up to work, you are both physically and mentally there; be punctual, but be punctual in a professional and present way.

Ditch the Phone

Although your cell phone can be an incredible tool for research and keeping up with colleagues, professional communication and note taking don’t warrant using a phone in the office (especially given your age and new role in the office). No matter what you are using the cell phone for, there remains a possibility for misinterpretation of what it is you’re actually doing. Mother always says, there is no room for a cell phone and texting habits in the workplace.

Do not be afraid to ask for HELP.           

Especially if it is your first time doing something, it is totally expected that you may have some questions. AND, even if it isn’t and you are expected to understand, take the moment to clarify. It is more time-efficient for you to ask and complete a task correctly than for you to do something incorrectly because you didn’t clarify. There is no shame in being unsure. As long as you clarify, take notes, and actively work to better understand, we’re sure you will be up and going on your own in no time! You got this girl!

You are there as an addition to the office, not to do nothing.

I know from personal experience that an intern’s role can vary dramatically day-to-day. There may be what seems to be an impossible list of tasks one week, and then days on end where people literally can’t find anything for you to do.  There is an appropriate time to ask for a new task; however, it is up to you to evaluate when that may be. Do not burst into your bosses office in the middle of a meeting or if they are on the phone. (Duh! Let’s be respectful, ladies) On the other end of the spectrum, if you do not have anything to do, do not sit at your desk and twiddle your thumbs in plain sight. Be proactive.

Although the thought of that new position is exciting, and you can’t wait to add the experience to your resume, take a moment to review what is expected of you. There is a reason you were hired and you have this great opportunity to prove yourself and do achieve great things. Just make sure to act appropriately and integrate yourself into the atmosphere of the office. And most importantly, have fun and take something out of this exciting opportunity.