When should I ask for help?
Berger says you should give it two weeks to transition into the company because it takes the company a while to transition too, especially if they aren’t used to having interns. “Then ask your internship coordinator or direct boss to set up a five minute meeting, that’s the perfect time to ask for help,” she says.
In the beginning
It’s easier to prevent a problem from occurring than to fix damage that’s already been done. That’s why you should ask for clarification and help at the start when you’re assigned to a new task or given a big responsibility. “There are a lot of things I had to learn like proper procedure for submitting my work to a manager, how to access the company directory and other company databases, even little things like project deadlines. When you join a new company, almost everything is new. The people you work with have been working within the system for much longer than you have so something that comes naturally to them isn't as obvious to you,” Alaine says. Even though you might run into problems down the road, asking for help in the beginning ensures that you start off on the right foot.
When you’re unsure about something
We all need help once in a while whether we like to admit it or not. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re unsure of something even if your internship is well on its way. “There were specific formatting rules for a certain section of the magazine that I was working on, and I was having some trouble figuring them out. I asked my boss, and he showed me the correct way to do it,” says Jessica, a Her Campus contributing writer and senior at Ohio University who interned at CityScene, a monthly publication in central Ohio.
“I worked in a PR office last year, so it was super important, especially in the beginning, to ask about EVERYTHING you weren't sure about before replying to someone/dealing with a client,” says Annie.
Shaye explains why asking for help can save you time, “One time my editor sent me an email asking me to do some research for a few celebrity quotes. I spent two hours working on this research until I finally read the email again and realized that I was doing way more than I needed to be doing. I emailed her for clarification and after she responded I realized that I could have done the work she wanted in a mere 30 minutes! From then on I made sure I asked for clarification whenever I wasn’t sure of a project. I think it’s safe to say that an extra email is much better than a few extra hours of work (for both of us)!”
In the event of an emergency
Never barge into a meeting, interrupt a phone conversation, and/or call after business hours,” Redmond says. The only acceptable time to call after business hours is when an emergency arises like if you’ve missed an important deadline or found a major error in something. If this is the case, remain calm; you don’t want to show your supervisor that you collapse under pressure.