While working the other day I was struck by behavior I saw in fellow Gen-Yers- they were rude, impatient and generally unpleasant.
You Only Have One Chance to Make a First Impression
I know its finals time and the holidays and the stress are building up. I understand, and I feel the same way. However, that doesn’t excuse low quality behavior. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression. At any job, what you do will be talked about after you leave and if you offend anyone it might end badly for you very quickly.
There are really easy ways to make sure you do not make a bad impression even if you are overwhelmed. Smile. It goes a long way. Also say please and thank you, you would be surprised how many people don’t say it and how good you look when you do.
Even if you are overwhelmed, let others explain what they need first. Do not cut them off, its rude. Then preface your “no” with the fact that you are overwhelmed and very busy. Also let the person know that if you have any free time, you will try and help them at a later point or you will find someone else to help them. Going the extra mile for someone in need means they will do the same for you when you need it most.
Ask for Help…You Do Not Know Everything
Gen-Yers are currently some of most tech savvy people in the workplace; however, we do not know everything. Confidence is crucial when you start any job, but being over confident can be the worst. Overconfidence and cockiness can not only create distance with your coworkers- it also sets you up to fail because you fail to learn. The point of all jobs and internships are to learn!
This is the hardest lesson to learn but the sooner you do, the more successful you will be. If you need help, just ask. It takes time to learn new things and the sooner you ask, the less time it will take you to get the work done; that makes you more valuable to the corporation. Plus, if you show that you are making an effort to learn new things, your bosses will be much more willing to spend time teaching you things.
During the job search and throughout an internship, this is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned. First, when you are searching for a job, be patient. It’s a very tough market out there. Many companies aren’t hiring and the few jobs that are open are super competitive. Make sure you are applying- and if you really want a job, make sure you are following up. But remember, companies have to go through hundreds and even thousands of resumes for a position. Its going to take a while, so if they don’t get back to you in one week’s time, don’t get worried. Wait a few weeks in between follow-ups unless you are told to do otherwise. And of course, always use relevant connections you may have in your network.
Second, keep in mind that when you do get a job, you are not going to be a Vice President right away. Everyone has to start somewhere and work their way up. If you are good at your job and make a significant impact, you should be able to move up faster. Your projects and tasks are not always going to be glamorous, but remember you are a crucial part of a team and try to learn as much as you can.
The Assistants and Receptionists Know Everything
There’s an old saying: “the maids know everything” and this is so relevant when it comes to the interview process and working at a company. When you come in for an interview, chat with the receptionist if he or she is not too busy. They will often be honest with you about what is going on at the company. Also, many HR managers talk to the receptionist after they interview someone to see what his or her first impression of the candidate was.
The secretaries and assistants know everything. They know the schedules inside and out. They can help sneak you in when there isn’t really time, and they can give you the heads up on what a boss likes and dislikes. Get to know the secretaries and assistants, and your internship will be a lot easier.
Remember to smile and take it all in! What tips do you have about interning?
Shannon is a senior at Boston University majoring in Advertising in the College of Communication. She has experience working for NBC Universal in New York City as well as PJA Advertising and Marketing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She loves clean functional digital design. Digital is the future of advertising and marketing and Shannon likes to stay involved and on trend. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.