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Talk The Talk On Your First Day: The Terms You Need To Know Before You Start Your Summer Internship

Walking into the office of your internship on the first day will inevitably be exciting, yet nerve-wracking. The office—full of busy professionals hustling around, drinking their coffee and cracking jokes—will feel nothing else but intimidating. Internships are a time for learning, but when your internship advisor asks you to pitch an evergreen story or log in into the CMS, you’re going to want to know what she’s talking about. There is going to be a lot you’ll learn throughout your first couple of days, and you don’t want to get behind because of a couple of silly words. Fortunately, you can start preparing now, collegiettes™, because Her Campus has compiled a list of terms from industries ranging from fashion to finance, to help you impress your co-workers and boss the minute you walk through those doors.  Consider this your internship dictionary.

But before we break it down by industry, here are a few business-y words that apply to almost any profession.

Annual Report: A formal presentation of a company’s accounts in the past year. These are all completed accounts and this presentation serves as a yearly review of the company’s status.

Quarterly Business Review (spoken as “Q-B-R”): A meeting that occurs every four months where business performance is discussed.

Invoice: A fancy word for a receipt of a company’s service.

Strategic Account Plans: A defined roadmap of a sales strategy that is specifically designed for each customer.


In a newsroom, editors and reporters are rarely going to have time to fully focus on you—not that they don’t want to. They’ll just be busy, ferociously typing away, writing stories and breaking news. The newsroom is a very hectic environment and a good intern must hit the ground running, and this means talking the journalism talk.

Lead: The first few sentences of a news story. This is used to hook the reader’s attention, luring them in to want to read more.

Evergreen: A story idea that can be used at any time of the year; it’s always relevant. It is not specific to a certain event or trend.

Pitch: The way in which a reporter/writer shares a story idea with an editor. Usually this will happen at a daily meeting in the newsroom when reporters will pitch stories to the higher editor.

Copy: Copy refers to the content, or physical being of the story, rather than duplicating it. For example, a writer’s first edited version of an article would be referred to as the first copy.

Man-on-the-street: To get a man-on-the-street means interviewing random strangers. Usually you’ll be asked to physically go stand on a street corner and ask strangers what they think about a certain event to add public opinion to the story.

Clips: Published stories you wrote that are often requested by potential employers. These are what you want to keep tabs of after your internship!

Search Engine Optimization (spoken as “S-E-O”): Describes a company’s website page ranking on search engines such as Google. News organizations want their stories to appear first when a reader Googles a story they are looking for information about.


Sure, Andy ended up being a good assistant to major fashion editor Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, but you wouldn’t want to start off like she did. Impress your couture-loving co-workers by knowing these mostly French-inspired words.

Les mots: Haute Couture (noun /??t ko?o?to?or/ ): The designing and making of high-quality, high-fashion clothes. This usually refers to the work done by the leading fashion houses.

Croquis: French term to describes the rough sketch of a live model in the garments.

Grommet: A metal ring used to reinforce an eyelet.

Mood board: A poster board that consists of images, text and samples, to formally present a designer’s image and ideas.

Collection: Clothing/accessories offered during a particular season. 


Technology/Software Engineering

Are you a techie who has landed an awesome internship in Silicon Valley for the summer? This cutthroat industry is all about knowing the latest computer language and code. Here is what you need to know to impress your Mark Zuckerberg-like boss on the first day.

Continuous Integration (also referred to as CI): A continuous process of applying quality control. Simply put, a software engineer doesn’t wait until the next day to make coding changes.

Wireframes: A blueprint or visual guide that represents the framework of a website.

HyperText Markup Language (referred to as HTML): The computer language used to create documents on the Web.

Cascading Style Sheets (referred to as CSS): A computer language that specifically designs the style (look and formatting) or a document on the Web. CSS represents the presentation semantics of a website.

Version control: A term to describe an application that keeps a software engineer’s code organized.

“If they had familiarity with all these things then they would definitely be a valuable asset as an intern to a tech company,” said web entrepreneur Zachary Burt. “In fact, I would hire them immediately if they had all of the above, plus HTML/CSS.”


If you’re interning in the Financial District this summer, it’s vital not only that you look the part, but also speak it. Take a break from those numbers and start studying these terms.

3-6-3 Rule: A slang term to describe how the banking industry operated in the past.  Invetopedia describes it as “bankers would give 3 percent interest on depositors’ accounts, lend the depositors money at 6 percent interest and then be playing golf at 3 p.m.”

ABA (American Bankers Association) Bank Index: Basically a banking phonebook that is made up of all community banks and banking institutions.

ABA (American Bankers Association) Transit Number: A number given by the American Bank Association to identify the institution.

Account history: All activity that has occurred in a customer’s account since it was created. This includes all transactions, interests, and balance.

Acquisition financing: The money that is earned by a business from purchasing another business.

Public Relations

Because this industry is continuously changing with the integration of media and technology, it wouldn’t hurt to be familiarized with the journalism and tech terms, too. Below are an additional few you should know in the industry.

Exclusive: A news feature or item that only one media outlet can take credit for. Breaking news can include an exclusive.

Boilerplate: A template of text that can be used more than once without changing.

Hit time: Often used when coordinating television interviews, a hit time refers to the estimated time of a live interview. These times may change depending on breaking news stories for the day, but it gives a general idea of when the spokesperson can expect to go on camera.

Segment: A block of time used to discuss a specific topic on television or radio. If a public relations company represents a beauty product and the Today Show is doing a segment on summer beauty tips, you would definitely want to book a segment.

Media advisory: A short announcement to the media about a specific event or news item. Usually is written in an urgent-tone and an easy-to-red format.


If you’re like Elle Woods and have landed an internship with a law firm in D.C., then you must know how to talk the talk in order to succeed. Sure you’re not in law school just yet, but according to a few law school-ers, there are the terms you need to know.

Voir Dire: This is the preliminary evaluation of a potential juror before the attorneys and judges assign him/her to a case. They are evaluated on their integrity and approach.

Intestate: A person who dies without a legal will. A parent who did not create a will before passing away would be referred to as an intestate parent.

Rule Against Perpetuity: This describes the control of future interest in property, such as real estate. The rule states that the transfer to the entitled person of the interest must take place within 21 years after the person’s death.

Nolo contendere: A plea in a criminal prosecution in which the defendant accepts conviction, but does not technically admit to being guilty.

Res ipsa loquitur: A rebuttal in any case to claim that the defendant was negligent.

Settle: To come to an agreement before having to go to court.

If you make sure to brush up on these terms before your first day on the job and you’ll be bound for success. Good luck!

Zachary Burt, web entrepreneur
Jennifer Murray, Public Relations

Nicole is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and Spanish. A native of the Chicago suburbs, she is an editor for the metro section at the Daily Iowan and writes Monday night recaps of her favorite TV show (and guilty pleasure) 'Gossip Girl' on Hollywoodlife.com. She spent this last summer in New York City interning at Hollywoodlife.com and a New York-based lifestyle and travel magazine, the Resident. She's exclusively interviewed several celebrities such as Bethenny Frankel, Margaret Cho, Joel Madden & Cheryl Burke. After graduation Nicole plans on returning to NYC and pursuing her career in journalism. In her free time she enjoys doing yoga, reading, and spending time with family and friends.