*OC = Owens Corning…not to be confused with The OC as in Orange County, Cali or that once-popular tv show following over privileged teens living in said city.
This first week has been so crazy, I’m still not entirely sure what just happened. The best way to start, I guess, is at the beginning (deep, I know).
So here are some things I suggest doing BEFORE your first day on the job starts because I either did them and I feel smart doing it or because I didn’t and I feel stupid for not: *Disclaimer: I am not a professional or even experienced in the work force so take this for what it’s worth.
- Prepare. Ask your manager/boss/director what their expectations are. A month or so before my first day, I asked my manager what kind of technical skills I should have coming in because I was kind of (ok fine, extremely) nervous about programming since I didn’t have too much exposure to it. At this point, I’ve only dealt with Java and COBOL (to all you geeks out there, yes, that language is still being taught) and I didn’t want to come on the first day and have her expecting me to code in C Plus or something. Talk about worst first day ever! Thankfully, that was not the case.
- Do your homework. Research the company you’re working for and find out how they’re doing in the industry. Do you know who the CEO is? If you’re in finance, who’s the CFO? You’re in Information Services- who’s the CIO? This is a fast simple google search that could be done as you walk in, which uhh I may or may not have done.
- Plan ahead. If you have the chance, drive to work beforehand to figure out how early to leave for work. I didn’t have the chance to since I moved in the Sunday before, so I left 40 minutes early even though google maps said it takes like 15 min, but what about traffic? Well apparently Toledo doesn’t really have any, so I just sat in my car for like 30 minutes when I got there. That means I have more time to sleep! Woohoo!
- Reflect. Take some time to think/write what your personal goals are – what you hope to gain by the time your internship is over. Your time is valuable and you want to make sure the time and effort you put into your job is worth it, find out if this is the place you can grow and meet your goals.
I already mentioned some of my goals for the summer in my previous blog. And here are somethings I plan to do DURING my internship:
- Record. For me, I will be recording what I do this summer via blog. If blogging’s not your thing, then journal or take notes of what you do during the summer because it’s important to take a step back and actually see what you’re doing. Getting the bigger picture of what you actually did will allow you to quantify your projects and assignments better and give you that extra kick in resume building and in interviews. There’s a difference between saying ‘I helped market globally XYZ product, resulting in company profit’ and saying ‘I designed and deployed a product development plan in 3 continents, resulting in x% profit.’
- Reflect. This is similar to goal-setting but now with benchmarks. Perhaps get some feedback if there isn’t already a mid-summer intern review. Or get feedback outside of that on your project management or planning skills. If I think I need help time-managing all my projects, then I want to be able to express that to my manager or mentor or whoever and develop that skill.
- Network. (Dang, I really wanted this to start with the letter R!) Aside from the obvious professional goals of networking, this is also the chance to meet others who are in different departments and see what they do, because who knows? What they do might actually interest me more or be a better fit for me than what I’m currently doing. This is an internship, not a full-time job. This is the opportunity to learn what’s out there.
Thank you for reading! Next, I’ll be writing about my first day of work.. Here. We. Go.