Ten Etiquette Tips for a Successful Internship

Congratulations on landing your dream summer internship. You are already well aware that a summer internship can help you garner valuable work experience and make an impression on those who may want to hire you full-time after graduation. Here are ten etiquette tips for a successful internship this summer:

1. Be prepared to arrive on time and stay late. If there is a project that
needs attention, you will make a more positive impression if you are more
interested in the outcome of the project than you are making it home in time
to watch the latest episode of The Bachelorette. Consistently showing up when you are
supposed to and leaving when the job is complete is an indicator of someone who will be a good future employee.

2. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. You aren’t expected to know or
understand the nuances of your new work environment right away. Listen
carefully, take notes and ask thoughtful questions in order to understand
the company’s procedures.

3. Dress the part. You are judged by your appearance. Take the extra time in
the morning to dress your best, even if you only have  a few key pieces. Get
creative and wear them in different ways throughout the work week. Showing
up sloppy, wrinkled or too casual sends the message that you don’t take your
internship seriously.

4. Be a self-starter.  As valuable as interns may be for a company, it can
sometimes be challenging for busy executives to set aside the time to direct
you with a list of daily or weekly tasks. Instead of acting bored or feeling
discouraged, find something productive to do. Strategize about a new social
media approach or advertising campaign that may benefit the company.  Do the
research, create the presentation and schedule a time to share it with the
appropriate staff member(s). They may just love it!

5. Put your cell phone away. Texting and taking personal calls during the work
day will give the appearance that you are only biding your time until you can check
“summer internship” off of your to do list. Take your job personally and
limit your cell phone use to your lunch break or for emergencies only.

6. Network within the office. Make a positive impression on every staff
member you encounter. Say good morning to people who work in other
departments, mingle with your own coworkers and show a genuine interest in
getting to know the people you are around during the work day. You
never know – one of the team members may end up being your future supervisor. At the
very least, they may be able to provide you with a good recommendation.

7. Stay above the fray. There will always be someone who is unhappy
with his or her job or doesn’t like the boss or fellow colleagues. Make every
effort to associate with those that have a positive attitude and are
respected by their corporate team. An office gossip generally does not have
the best reputation within the company – steer clear.

8. Take a close look at your vocabulary. The less you use the words “like”,
“uhm” and “dude” at the office, the more seriously your colleagues will take
you. Make an effort to eliminate any words that will send the message of
young or immature.

9.  Mind your email Ps and Qs.  Speaking of your vocabulary, compose every email as if it will be read by the CEO of the company.  No slang, always professional and courteous.  Respond to emails in a timely manner (within a business day).

10. Stay in touch. After your internship has ended, continue to keep in
contact. If you continue to build a relationship with your boss and
coworkers, you will probably be the first person they think of when an
opening comes up in the company.


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.


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