Most of us have been there and done that. I completed several internships while a college student. But for those of you who are just getting started in new internships, there are a few things you should be aware of to make the ride as smooth as possible. Here are few tips that helped me during the intern years.
ProfessionGal is looking for two interns to add to our growing team. If the below openings sound like a fit for you, please contact our intern coordinator via email. Please include the following:
Subject: I’m THAT Gal!
A paragraph explaining why you’re perfect for this internship
A few things that showcase your awesomeness (professionally and personally)- maybe it’s your awesome blog, your Twitter profile with thousands of followers, an article you wrote that was published on Huffington Post, or a picture of you wearing a crazy costume (and the story behind it, of course).
We can’t wait to hear from the new Gals!
The editorial intern should be creative, hard working, and able to learn quickly.
Familiarity with Megan Broussard’s work, the voice and tone of the site, and a desire to contribute to the growth of the site is mandatory.
Interns must have a sense of humor and convey that sense of humor through writing. She should be comfortable writing feature-length articles in addition to punchy roundup pieces, using resources like HARO to find sources for stories. She should also be willing to share personal views, experience and insight on topics through opinion pieces.
Reading ProfessionGal daily
Working with social media to contact individuals and brands who are mentioned on the site
Contributing to and creating site content
Managing content submitted by guest bloggers
Attending weekly (virtual) editorial meetings
Planning and managing giveaways
Assist beauty and fashion editors with special projects and creating content
This opportunity is virtual, unpaid and requires 10+ hours/week.
Social Media Intern
The social media intern should be highly motivated, experienced in a variety of social media networks and sharp in identifying potential partners and relevant influencers to further build the ProfessionGal brand via social media. In addition, she should be well versed in the latest trends in the social space and be able to spot relevant news content relating to our community. Having advanced writing skills is also a must. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate extensive social media experience, actively participating in a wide variety of social media activities and is able to drive followers and traffic to/from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.
Manage our daily social media strategy to engage customers and grow our community.
Find relevant content for all social media channels.
Create/find graphics/videos relevant to our audience.
Implement social campaigns to set us apart from the competition.
Manage analytics and identify influencers.
Be responsible for driving traffic from social channels.
Increase fans and followers month over month.
This opportunity is virtual, unpaid and requires 10+ hours/week.
An intern is supposed to make your life easier, right?
But, going through the process of hiring one for the first time can be so confusing that you might start to feel like you should just give up and do the work yourself.
I sure did. In my case, I was looking for a community management intern to help me with my social media efforts. But as a one-woman show and a hiring rookie, I didn’t really know how to navigate the process. And, as it turns out, there were a lot of things that I believed about bringing on an intern that were completely and utterly incorrect.
But, I made it through the process, and came out on the other side with a new intern and a lot of knowledge I didn’t have before. Read on for the biggest misconceptions that held me back from getting help so that you can move forward more quickly than I did in finding the perfect set of extra hands.
Misconception #1: I Need to Have a Registered Business to Have an Intern
Says who? That’s what I learned.
For some reason (probably because legal matters are often murky waters, intimidating those of us who didn’t go to law school), new entrepreneurs tend to think something official like being a registered business or having a copyrighted site is a credential that’s necessary in order to legally take on an official intern.
But, after spending too much time dragging my feet on hiring someone because I thought this was true, I learned that it is absolutely not.
I sent an email blast with my concern to a few women with sites similar to mine who have interns and asked them to give the rundown. (We help each other from time to time, sharing shortcuts that we wish someone would have shared with us.) Most of them chuckled at my questions with an, “Oh, Megan! You’re such a worrier.” But, they did admit they also wondered about the same thing in the beginning.
Essentially, what I learned is that anyone willing to mentor and train an intern can take one on. There are only rules to follow if your intern is requesting college credit, which would mean you’d have to follow the guidelines of that specific university’s curriculum (some require that you do have a registered business, for example). And, if you are offering compensation, you have to be sure you’re paying minimum wage (more on that in a bit).
So, know that the option to get an intern exists no matter if your site or business is “official.” Your internship program will be as official as you make it.
To add a little extra credibility, try following the standard procedures used by most university-approved internship programs, like setting up weekly status meetings and taking time out to provide mentorship to your intern for his or her overall professional development. You also can provide onboarding materials beforehand to get your intern off on the right foot—for me, a style sheet with a list of language dos and don’ts was in order, as was a spreadsheet of login usernames and passwords for my social media pages. Finally, have a performance evaluation after the internship session is over.
During the summer before my senior year of college, I interned on Wall Street. It was a big deal to get that i-banking internship; the process began several months before and involved a gauntlet of meet-and-greets, tense interviews and impromptu trips to New York. What I didn’t anticipate was how many questions I’d have when I got there, the least of which was “what do I wear?”
I sheepishly admit that some of my outfits likely fell in the “what was she thinking?” category, such as the army green button down and beige polyester pinstripe pants from a mall store that will remain nameless. Yikes. In the years since this fashion disaster, I figured out the rules, but, like many young professional women, settled for super-corporate charcoal wool suits and button downs, certainly suitable for the office, but never to be worn outside the 9-to-5. Frustrated by this, I co-founded Tailour to provide women with a stylish, flattering alternative that transitions from the office to your life.
With Tailour, my partner and I are committed to not only helping women look and feel their best with our clothes, but spreading advice that we wish we had on our first day in the office. To that end, we created our first Tailour Intern Guide with advice from some of our most successful friends and customers, tips on how to dress for different work environments, and our favorite after-work venues around the country. Check out our Intern Guide on our blog.
We’d love to hear from you: What do you wish you knew in your first job?
Chrissie Gorman is the co-founder of Tailour, an ecommerce line of versatile, flattering work apparel that takes professional women from the office to after-work drinks. She developed the concept while getting her MBA at Harvard Business School. She has also worked in management consulting and in entertainment at MTV Networks and Creative Artists Agency. Follow her on Twitter at @c_gorm.
Looking for an internship this summer or fall? 58% of executives interviewed by The Creative Group said their agency or firm does not offer an internship program. But there is a silver lining: among companies that offer internships, 63%provide compensation.
Go ahead, jump the gun. Get a leg up on the competition by starting your internship search early. Research organizations of interest, work with your university career center, scour job boards, and reach out to members of your personal and professional networks well before the school year ends.
Be prepared. Most employers require a resume, cover letter and portfolio from internship applicants — so make sure yours are in tip-top shape. In addition, have a business-appropriate outfit ready should you be called in for an interview.
Consider your options wisely. While internships that pay well are attractive, it’s also important to consider whether the position will provide exposure to a range of projects, people and experiences. The most valuable internships offer plenty of opportunities to learn and acquire skills that support your professional goals.
Put yourself in their shoes. Managers are stretched thin and appreciate those who listen actively, exercise sound judgment and don’t require constant feedback. In your application materials and in interviews, emphasize your ability to take direction and work independently.
Demonstrate strong social skills. Work teams communicate in many different ways today: via email, instant messaging, social media, conference calls and in-person meetings. Show you know how to collaborate effectively and professionally both online and off.
Have you had an internship? What are your tips for standing out from the competition?
The following is an article I wrote for The Grindstone as a contributor.
Last week, reports of Tony Blair’s no-payment policies for his company’s interns sparked serious controversy in the UK, especially since the former prime minister, known fondly as the Labour Prime, was the one who introduced the minimum wage for low paid earners in the first place.
Now, he’s crumbling under pressure from government agency Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and minimum wage advocates to hand out paychecks after the careers website Graduate Fog exposed an alarming accusation from a former intern candidate, the DailyMail reports:
As your summer internship comes to a close and you’re packing up for a trip back to the dorm, snag this GO-GIRL promo code just for ProfessionGal readers that will give you 20% off of its best-seller: The Dorm Diva Kit. The code is GOGIRL and is good now through Thursday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. PST, so hurry and take advantage of this deal by purchasing here. Your parents will be so proud of your financial maturity.
Survival tin contains: Eye Mask, laundry bag (not shown), “Maid Service” door hanger (not shown), detergent, tooth brush, popcorn, mouthwash, tooth paste, tissues, make-up wipe, shaving cream packet, tampon, gum, sewing kit, safety pin, loose buttons, ear plugs, bath sponge, 4 adhesive Polka Dots, 4 sheets of Lint-on-the-go-Sheets!®, 4 strips of Hem-Help, a pair of Bug’N-Out Nipple Concealers, and a Smudge-Sponge.
Wait – there’s more!
GO-GIRL is looking for self-motivated, outgoing and responsible part-time interns for the Fall semester as part of its Campus Rep Program.
They are seeking students who are passionate about beauty and fashion. Experience in communications, promotions, public relations, sales, and/or marketing is also a plus. This internship will be what you make of it. You will not be going out and getting coffee, and you will be treated as an employee. They are looking for natural leaders and creative minds, and much of the work may be done from home/dorm. Additional information and application here.
When I first read ProfessionGal’s blog post about a growing “workstyle” phenomenon for independent workers, I was all up in arms getting ready to protest a crucial missing component to her blog. Okay, I wasn’t really up in arms, per se. But I did want to point out the missing piece of the phenomenon. So after catching up on a few episodes of Dexter and Homeland I posted a response.
Imagine my surprise and delight when ProfessionGal responded by asking me to guest blog for her. “Heck yes!” After a few emails back and forth (one involving a discussion about pantyhose), I had my angle. I decided I would talk to ProfessionGal’s readers about something spectacular they’ve created – let’s call it a “secret club” – but from a man’s point of view.
We men (a.k.a., non-members) just call this club “the world of the independent working woman”. And we men do notice how you maintain near indestructible networks that even your corporate cubicle dwelling colleagues don’t understand. It’s an unspoken bond you all share that, frankly, is downright impressive and inspiring, if not somewhat intimidating. Once upon a time, some of us non-members thought that perhaps you were getting your directives from Sex and the City…but the series finale and movies threw us off that scent!
Nowadays it’s easy for you to stay connected and informed. You read the blogs (like ProfessionGal’s), “Like” the Facebook pages, follow Tweeps, and join other online communities where you share tips or “secrets to success” that allow you to juggle your roles as busy independent working women. Secrets often involve time management tricks, multitasking skills, motivational techniques, proper work attire, counter espionage training and much more.
But get this: I’ll bet you didn’t know that your secret club of independent working women contains another element – a splinter group whose intentions are not to be subversive. Truth is, they are gradually realizing their very existence. This so-called secret element I’m referring to is an international phenomenon. Some of you reading this may already be members. Many of you are not. But that’s okay. There’s always room.
Joining this secret international splinter group is more about self-discovery after sitting down to work near another like-minded member. In most cases, you could probably relate to that person because she took a familiar path to membership. You know this because it was your path too.
In case you’re hearing this for the first time, see if you can relate (or if you’d like to):
Despite having a home office complete with everything you need for work, you’ve tried everything in your power to make a go of it. The problem is, it’s tough to jumpstart your day when you’re still wearing your comfy jammies and favorite slippers, the dog is being a bigger diva than a Beyonce/Celine hybrid, and if your nosey neighbor knew you worked from home she’d never let you get anything done. You love your work, but not the baggage that comes with working from home. You need a change; a place somewhere between a cubicle and your living room. Where do you go?
You pack up your laptop and everything else you need for work, and you head out to the closest, most convenient coffee shop. You set yourself down at a table, buy your favorite beverage, plug in your laptop and get down to it.
This is the global splinter group I was talking about. It’s known as The Coffice – it makes your home office seem like last night’s bad idea and the mere thought of a high-rise cubicle even worse.
“Coffice” is a conjunction of the words “coffee” and “office”; a term to describe the local coffee shop that is utilized as a place for performing daily work-related tasks; a location for non-office (or occasional office) dwelling workers to create non-traditional work environments in which to conduct their business.
Members of the splinter group of independent working women who may already frequent the Coffice are known as Cofficers. And as Cofficers, you are part of a community of professionals (not just women) that is growing by leaps and bounds the world over, yet is largely misunderstood by the masses.
Non-Cofficer colleagues, family members and friends don’t realize that, like getting off the elevator in a downtown high-rise, Coffice devotees are on a first-name basis with all the people who work at their regular spots – they are the Coffice staff – including the managers, baristas, and many of the other Cofficers there. Outsiders would be shocked at the amount of networking actually done at The Coffice – and the business opportunities brought by that networking.
Veteran Cofficers have nearly perfected their Coffice experience. They shrug off and occasionally chuckle at the bewildered, sometimes judgmental glances from caffeine-starved customers buying their lattes before rushing downtown to full-time cubicles and glassed-in corner offices.
The managers, VPs, directors and C-suite key holders dubiously staring at the sea of laptops have no idea what Cofficers are about. They’re clueless as to the level of thought and strategy that goes into choosing a Coffice location. They’d be amazed at how much work goes into packing briefcases and laptop bags with the Cofficer’s tools.
If Cofficers actually sat down with all of these people and explained how the Coffice infrastructure is harnessed to our professional advantage – sometimes with robotic precision – laptop sales would boom, wifi use would explode and maybe…just maybe…stress management programs, seminars, and professionally-focused self-help books would become near obsolete.
In lieu of miracles happening, it’s time for the pashmina of mystery shrouding the Coffice to be yanked off; with a flourish, no doubt. (Not the pashmina you keep by your desk for those chillier than usual days or when your building’s A/C is on for no apparent reason. No, no. Keep that one on! Those goose bumps won’t go down themselves…)
To all of you current Cofficers, the next time you’re in a Coffice and spot someone giving you a puzzling glance, send her to ProfessionGal’s site so she can read what you’re reading now. Welcome the tentative and confused working woman and make it known to her that the Coffice community continues to grow as fast as her shoe collection!
If you happen to spot a co-Cofficer, someone who also happens to belong to the other secret club, please remember to use the proper secret signal. I’d tell you what it is, but that’s part of the fun of being in a secret club.
So now that you know you may not just be incredible independent working women, you may also be incredible Cofficers, I welcome you to The Coffice! Please pass it on!
Sam Title is not only a dedicated Cofficer, but Chief Executive Cofficer of The Coffice. Based in Toronto, Canada, when not writing about The Coffice or building his Coffice community, he is a marketing communications professional working on various client engagements, a dad to two beautiful daughters (secret club members in training) and the husband of one of your members. She’s often referred to as Wonder Woman (seriously!). You can find him at: email@example.com; http://www.facebook.com/thecoffice; http://www.twitter.com/thecoffice; and http://www.thecoffice.biz.
Please note: Sam’s moustache is not ironic – it was a Movember photo update. As well, no pantyhose were harmed in the writing of this blog – ask his wife.
* For more insight into the lives of female Cofficers, read below as two of Sam’s friends answer these questions:
How do you prepare when you know you’re going to be spending a day working from a Coffice? What do you take with you in your bag?
What advice/words of wisdom would you give to independent working women who want to give The Coffice a try?
Brooke Miller, Cofficer
I bring everything and beyond with me to the Coffice! I often leave some things in the car and trade out if I get a project done, but it’s way easier to be prepared. I also pack a lunch — if I spend money on a coffee, then the people at the Coffice are usually really cool with me having my own endless snacks for the day. I also NEVER forget my headphones. Sometimes it’s nice not to listen to music, but the second “that guy/girl” sits down — you know, the one who thinks it’s okay to have an hour-long conversation on the phone right next to you — it’s torture without the headphones.
Make nice to the baristas — they are your new Coffice-mates. You want them on your side. And they’ll watch your computer like a hawk while you go to the restroom. Plan on not talking on the phone. It’s really rude and you don’t want to develop a reputation. Step outside if you need to make a call. Don’t wear your business attire! Kick off your heels and wear something comfortable. You want to feel professional and good about yourself, but the Coffice isn’t a nightclub. Seriously.
Brooke Miller is an advice columnist, a licensed psychotherapist and the founder of Soapbox Therapy (http://www.soapboxtherapy.com), a unique portal into the world of emotional health, offering a new approach to emotional wellbeing, connecting a fresh perspective and modern voice to mental health while maintaining respected and traditional wisdom.
Laurie Davis, Cofficer
Most days I transition from meetings at the Coffice to a cocktail party, so I either need a stellar day-to-night outfit or time to head home and change in between events. This naturally means that my bag often doubles as a treasure chest of cocktail rings, bobby pins and eyeliner…and on more than one occasion, I could have definitely won a ribbon for Best Dressed, Starbucks Edition.
Other must haves in my bag: headphones so I can change up the background music or watch videos, my USB modem in case the Internet is sluggish, a bottle of water to keep hydrated, and a notebook in case I need to take a brainstorming session to the meta level.
When choosing a Coffice, go for ambiance over utility. Different environments can give new inspiration. While you may just need to get out of the house, it’s much more exciting when you choose a locale for a fresh perspective, too.
Laurie Davis is the founder of eFlirt Expert (http://www.eflirtexpert.com), a service that helps singles establish the ultimate virtual first impression and transition their digital selves to meaningful, in-person dating experiences.
I accepted a job in March 2012 as a legal assistant at a small law firm. I had no legal experience and had only taken (and passed with a “C”) one law course while college: Mass Media Law. I only knew of one court case, The New York Times versus Sullivan. I informed my potential employer at the time, of my current status as completely inexperienced in the law. Nevertheless, he thought my English major would be an asset to the job. Receiving the offer was exciting but also nerve-racking, as I had no idea what to expect. However, there are plenty of perks to working in the law.
Although it’s traditional to make resolutions in January, I tend to do it in early September. There’s something about the start of a school year that, despite being out of school for a long time, gets me motivated for the next 12 months.
One of my resolutions is always to give back and be more involved in my community. And fall is a great time to make a new volunteer commitment. Not sure how to get started or what you want to do? Let’s lay out what you should consider before volunteering.
How much time do I have?
No, really. Not how much time you wish you had to save the world, but what do you really think you can commit on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis. What days are never going to work for you? Is there a busy time of year for you that will interfere with a regular schedule? Think these questions out and make sure that you communicate any restrictions with the organization for whom you will be volunteering. Trust me, it will cut down on a lot of guilt and miscommunication in the future.
What do I want to do?
There are all kinds of volunteer experiences. You can work in a soup kitchen, till a garden, babysit kids.* Or you can file, answer phones, and research. The volunteer world is your oyster, so ask yourself what will make you happiest. When you are doing what you enjoy, you’re going to pass that enthusiasm on to the clients, other supporters, and the (probably overburdened) staff. So think about what kind of experience will be fulfilling, and only consider those types of positions.
For instance, I just moved to a new city, and as I start thinking about volunteering I know that I want to work with large groups of people. I want to help out, but I also want a social experience while I do it. So I’ll probably get involved in a feeding program at a homeless shelter, or maybe help put on a big event.
Where can I do it?
In the internet-age you can not only work from home, you can also volunteer from home, doing research, writing grant proposals, or even participating in a phone bank. That’s great for some people, but others are looking for a more communal experience. That said, a lot of social service organizations are not in ritzy parts of town–will you feel comfortable going there regularly? Likewise, if the organization is based on the other side of town, are you willing to commute? This may seem like a minor issue, but anyone who has ever struggled to go to the gym knows that it’s really easy to put off something that is good for you, but is slightly inconvenient. Set yourself up for success and a happy experience.
Wait, how am I going to find out where there are opportunities?
Obviously, you can’t volunteer without some kind of organization for which to volunteer. If you already know of an organization you like, you should be able to find all of their information on their website. If they don’t have a “Volunteer” page, try contacting someone who has words like “outreach” or “community” in their title. Organizations like this may not be set-up to manage volunteers, but it never hurts to ask.
If you don’t know any local charities, check out VolunteerMatch or Idealist. They list tons of organizations and what kinds of volunteers they need. Also keep your eyes open as you walk through your neighborhood. You might see kids selling lemonade to support a local organization, or an event at the church that benefits a charity, or someone asking for donations at the supermarket. If any of these seem interesting, you can ask for more information right there or do your homework later.
Volunteering has made a huge difference in my life. I’ve met friends, business contacts, and even got job offers through my volunteer experience. I’ve also felt more connected to my neighbors and to folks on the other side of the planet. I hope that as the breeze becomes crisp, you’ll consider making a resolution to become a Fall-unteer.
*Note: If you want to volunteer with children and youth, you will likely have to get a background check and may need to provide references. Be prepared for these kinds of inquiries and don’t take them personally.