You spent hours researching the company, obsessed over your resume, perfected your cover letter, and managed to keep calm during your interview—and it paid off. Congrats on landing the internship! Most of the hard work is done now, but you’re entering tricky territory. Between the day you get the job and your first day of work, you’ll have lots of unanswered questions and potentially awkward situations. Read on for HC’s dos and don’ts for your pre-internship puzzles.
DO ask important logistical questions. Now that you have the job, it’s OK to ask questions that aren’t acceptable in an interview setting. Chrystal Stanley, a Professional & Career Development and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Drake University, suggests asking what time you need to arrive, if you have a desk, and how much time you get for lunch. This way you can plan out your day: If you don’t have a desk to leave your purse at, stash it in the trunk of your car. Not enough time to go out for lunch? Pack it instead.
DON’T email your employer every day. Your employer is a busy person, so you don’t want to bombard her with daily or weekly emails asking questions. While keeping in touch is important, you don’t want to be a nuisance. “If there are questions you need to ask before you start, I would encourage you to ask as many as you can during that initial phone call where they offer you the job,” says Stanley. Then, if you have any additional questions, send them all in one email a few weeks before your first day.
DO connect with your employer and the company online. If you haven’t already, connect with your future coworkers on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. Social media can keep you stay connected without feeling like you’re interrupting their day with emails and phone calls. Similarly, following the company on Twitter and liking its Facebook page can help you stay up-to-date on company happenings. Plus, employers like interns who know their way around social media.
DON’T put your job in jeopardy with poor social media decisions. We all know to keep our Twitter and Facebook profiles clean and professional. If you’re worried about friends posting inappropriate photos of you, keep your profile private and don’t friend your future coworkers. “If your employer discovers something on social media that makes them uncomfortable hiring you, they have the right to recall the position,” Stanley says. “But most of the time, that’s not going to happen.”
DO reach out to current or former interns. If your internship office is close by, ask your employer if you can shadow a current intern for the day, Stanley suggests. The intern can give you a tour and show you what kind of work you’ll be doing, which can calm those first-day nerves. Reaching out to former interns can work, too. They might be able to answer your questions even better than current interns.
DON’T stop researching the company. Impress your employer on your first day by staying up-to-date on company happenings. Want to go the extra mile? Stanley suggests researching the industry and other companies to know what the company’s competitors are doing. You can follow the company on Twitter, visit its corporate website every so often. Keep up on news by setting a Google Alert, which will email you with news or blogs about the company.
DO plan ahead for taking time off. While you shouldn’t ask how many days off you will get, it’s crucial to ask your employer if you can take time off for a pre-planned family vacation or another commitment, like a wedding. If they say you can’t take time off, Stanley says, “You need to negotiate or make the decision if the internship or the vacation is more important.”
DON’T procrastinate making plans. If your internship is in another city, start apartment hunting right away. Need to buy a car to get to and from work every day? Start looking now. Need a new, professional wardrobe? Start shopping ASAP!
Follow these tips and you’ll start your new internship with confidence!