The Good and the

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Chloe Daley > Senior > Journalism > California State University, Sacramento
It’s 9:12 a.m. and my next-door intern, mocha in hand, slides into his cubicle while sending a last minute text message. He pulls out his muffin and crumples the bag.  A wave of momentary smugness sweeps over me. The latest I’ve ever been is two minutes, not 12.

 

 

Then it hits me. Am I a truly good intern or just a “get-by”?  I wonder… am I being proactive enough?
 
Approximately 50 percent of college graduates leave university with work experience and three quarters of employers now expect it, says the National Colleges and Employers Board. Nevertheless, you still have to be proactive when facing this year’s bleak 9.6 percent unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 
So slapping it on the resume just doesn’t cut it anymore; it’s about lasting impressions.
 
CM talked to a few rock star interns and savvy employers to help you move from “good” status to “we’d like you to stay.”
 
Take Initiative
Your internship is what you make of it. Allison McCarthy, associate editor of 7×7 Magazine in San Francisco, said she considers stellar intern behavior as, “ready to take on any task no matter how dull or tedious, willingness to pick up the phone to get things done faster, and dedication to thorough work.” Being eager is the number one way to impress.
 
Robert Humphrey, internship coordinator at California State University, Sacramento says references are vital. Even if the internship doesn’t produce a job, he says developing good habits like taking initiative will carry over when a student does get a job. “Everyone is very conscious of the tight job market.” Those good habits could help you keep your job later.
 
Ask Amazing Questions
Questions can be a double-edged sword. Jenn Talley, former managing editor at Style Media Group, says one of her pet peeves is interns who don’t ask questions. Good questions prove you are engaged and want to get things done the first time. But irritating questions like “do you have something for me to do?” or ones that could be answered in the company handbook can quickly make you despise-worthy. The tip is: ask, but think first.
 
Dress and Act the Part
You’ve heard it before: dress for the job you want, not the one you have. It’s still true. Wendy Sipple, publisher of Real Weddings Magazine says, “Depending on the position, you don’t necessarily have to wear a suit, but be professional. Look the part that you want. People notice these things.”
 
Jacqueline Tualla, a journalism student and intern at KCRA 3 Television in Sacramento, agrees presentation is key. “I dress and look the part every day to show I’m serious and I work to perfection so they can picture me in the business, too.” She recommends making personal connections and knowing the stories of just about everyone.
 
Post Internship, Write Thank You Notes
You may think, “they should be thanking me!” but it’s a thoughtful gesture and a smart follow-up move. Even if you believe Twitter is the future, proof you actually bought a stamp shows you care a little more.

Images courtesy of myfinancialobjectives.com and 20somethingjournalist.com.

 

College Magazine Staff

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