10 Questions to Ask Before You Begin an Internship

This article has been syndicated to Her Campus from Macarons & Mascara, an InfluenceHer Collective member. Read the full post here.

The semester has ended and you have moved out of your dorm room. If you aren’t studying abroad, taking a summer class or working part-time, you’re likely interning somewhere. Internships are great ways to build hands-on experience in your desired career field, and they’re also great for networking and even making new friends. I had an editorial internship—my first internship EVER—last summer and I had such a fantastic experience. Of course, looking back, I found some things I could improve on, and I wish I had done a few things differently, but it’s a learning process, right? If you’re curious about what my experience was like, be sure to check out my post on What I Learned From My First Editorial Internship. I didn’t know too much about what to expect, other than the fact that I was told I would take on the same assignments as full-time employees. I didn’t know anyone who already had editorial internship experience, so I was kind of like the guinea pig of my friend group. I didn’t know what would be considered appropriate office dress, and I pretty much didn’t ask all the questions I probably should have asked beforehand. Because I want to make sure you don’t stress on the inside as much as I did when I started my first internship, here are 10 questions to ask before your first day no matter what kind of internship you get.

1. What time should I be in the office?

This is probably one of the most important questions that you can’t be shy about asking! I know you’ve heard of the average 9-to-5, but not every internship requires that you work during those hours. Some may ask you to come in a little later, and others may ask you to come in a little earlier. Some are even a little flexible and allow you to come in any time between, say, 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Usually, your hiring manager will tell you this info ahead of time, but if they don’t, be prepared to ask. Last year, I always tried to be in the office before my boss. Being late is obviously a huge internship mistake, but being there early will earn you a really good impression. Try saying something like, “what time are you usually in the office? Should I plan to arrive then, too?”

2. What is considered appropriate office attire?

Like I said, I didn’t know what was considered appropriate for the office on my first day because I failed to ask my hiring manager beforehand. I guess the question just didn’t occur to me, and I spent hours the night before combing through my closet looking for something decent. I settled on a plain button down, leggings and my favorite riding boots (it was still quite chilly at the time). I polished off the look with a statement necklace. My goal was to look business casual so that I was neither too dressed up nor too dressed down. And because it was still chilly, I brought a blazer with me so I was prepared either way.

The office dress code varies from company to company, honestly. Some are very laid back and will allow you to wear shorts, sundresses and jeans, while others will prefer it if you kept it more on the business casual side. Asking before you begin will give you enough time to buy any dress shirts if you need them, or invest in dress pants.

Read the full post here.