Start Your Engines, Interns!

Summer internship season is about to start and it is my favorite time of year! I was an intern over seven times throughout my college years and the experiences were unforgettable and irreplaceable. As internships are about to start, I wanted to share some of my favorite experiences and advice for all those about to embark on their summer internships. Get ready to start your engines and work it!

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Keep an internship journal

It sounds weird but every night when you get home, write about what you did at your internship that day. It is so easily forgotten what you did each day and then when it comes time to update your resume with your internship, you forget all the simple day-to-day tasks you completed. Also, when it comes time to ask for that ever so valuable reccomendation letter, you have all the proof in the world to back up what you did all summer long. Obviously don’t show up your first day with a notebook and pen in hand and say, “here to report for duty” but definitely log what you do daily to keep track.

Summer doesn’t equal Flip-flops

Don’t wear flip-flops. EVER. Even if they are Tory Burch or even Chanel, I don’t care. Just don’t do it. When it comes to dress code, especially for an internship, dress-up your first day and take a look around the office and take note in what everyone is wearing. This is the best way to gauge the office culture and dress code. If you have the slightest feeling that you’re taking a teeny fashion risk, wait until you’re out on the weekend and go wild!

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Do your Absolute Best while Working your Absolute Hardest

During your 8 to 12 week internship, focus primarily on the job at hand. Let your network know you are starting a new job and that your focus will be directly on this this given time period. The one mistake you can really make is enjoying a summer night a little too much and go into your job hungover. Even if you try to hide it, you’re not doing your absolute best. Focus and do your best and who knows, you may get hired full-time.

Don’t Be Afraid but Don’t Hover

Be courageous and get involved from that start. Ask how you can help and what you can do to jump right in but also don’t hover over your boss. Everyone has a job to do and it is not primarily to watch the interns all summer long. Definitely ask what you can do but don’t ask every 15 minutes. You will find your rhythm and your regular routine in the office after the first week so don’t worry, it will happen. Don’t let your fear get in the way either.

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Ask Questions

I’d rather see an intern ask questions than see them screw something up. Don’t be over-zealous about a task if you have any uncertainty. Always ask questions. You’re an intern, not an expert. Your boss doesn’t expect you to know much if anything, that’s why you’re an intern. You are there to learn and learn as much as you possibly can. An internship is a huge opportunity so take full advantage of the situation at hand. As an intern, you have the best insider look into the industry you dream about.

Be Gracious

As I have stated, this is a major opportunity and while I know you earned this spot with your interview and networking, be grateful. Not every company has interns and grant the opportunity for students to come into their world for a temporary period of time to learn the in’s and out’s. Thank your boss for the opportunity and make sure at the end of your internship, write a thank-you note. This will do you wonders in the long run. Trust me.

Story Time

When I was interning at Seventeen Magazine in NYC, I was a fashion intern. I worked day-in and day-out in the fashion closet. Best experience ever. Especially since I love to organize things! Our primary daily duties were to pick-up and return samples to showrooms around NYC. On the subway and off the subway we were, every hour on the hour. One day my boss wanted me to go to the financial district for a return. Some showrooms are not under designer names but under showroom or company names. To say the least, the financial district was far from the office and a subway was not conveniently located near the showroom. I had 3 massive garment bags that weighed more than me and it was 95 degrees out. Obviously, without question, I set out on the mission. Once i got off the subway and into the building and the elevator doors opened, I realized I was in the Costume Nacional offices and it so happened that John Galliano was just hanging out. No big deal. I was in fashion heaven. I walked out of that sample run with a HUGE smile on my face. It was amazing. You never know what that annoying task will bring.

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Final note: enjoy yourself, absorb everything you can and have fun! It is summer after all. . .


Dream it. Love it. Work it.

Lindsay McFarlane

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