Internship season always seems to sneak up on college students—but not you, because you’re here, prepping in the best way possible. If you’ve never had an office job before, it can be a little intimidating at first. However, we wanted to share five tips for starting your first office job so you can start your internship off strong.
Never Talk Behind a Coworker’s Back
If you choose to gossip, that’s on you—but you should never do it in the office. In fact, you should resist talking behind someone’s back at all costs, but we know some people can’t help themselves. Just keep in mind that gossiping not only makes you look like a “tattle-tale;” it’s also extremely unprofessional. Don’t forget that this internship is also your chance to land the job later, and no one will hire someone who spreads rumors or bad talks coworkers.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s really easy to come into work and go hard because office work isn’t typically labor-intensive. However, most offices are lit with harsh fluorescent lighting, and the air is dry. So, we’d suggest staying hydrated, if you’re allowed to have a personal humidifier at your desk, that may be a great idea. In addition, don’t forget to move. Several studies have found that sitting for long periods of time can increase your risk for major health issues.
After the interview, you should have a sense of the company’s culture and dress code. You can’t go wrong with a suit for an interview, but once you’re in, you don’t want to be the person that out-dresses the boss. For example, if you are interning at a major accounting or consulting firm like KPMG or Deloitte, sure you’ll probably need to wear a suit every day. On the other hand, if you’re interning at Google, you’d probably get some weird looks. The dress code is directly related to the culture, so allow yourself to abide by the culture.
Learn Basic Office Etiquette
There are several guides to acting appropriately in an office, including this guide to office printing etiquette. However, you need to know the basics of office etiquette at the very least. For example, you should always be on time, reduce your use of jargon, respect others, mute your cellphone—you get the idea. Just be a decent person and you’ll be fine; being respectful is always the way to go.
You Have to Be Reliable
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Unlike at college, you can’t show up to work or an internship late, like you can with classes. You’re in the real world now, and you’re expected to be on time and do your work. Now, most companies will offer help if you need it; they understand that life happens and sometimes you’ll fall behind. However, the way you react to falling behind will be more important than falling behind itself. You have to be willing to accept that you’re behind and get back to the grind.
Whether you’re going into your first office job or internship, you’ll be held accountable as a professional for the first time. Of course, change is scary and intimidating, but you must be open to change; otherwise, you’ll never be able to grow.