A word of advice for Freshman me

If I had the opportunity to go back in time and meet the freshman version of myself, I would undoubtedly be horrified. (I still have nightmares about the time I wore a polo shirt to our career fair). I dressed differently, I talked differently and I represented myself in social settings differently among other things. While I certainly have a long ways to go, three years in college and several internships have taught me so much about the intangible factors of kick starting a successful business career. During my time at my summer internship, which if you haven’t noticed, I’m forced to speak about in very vague terms due to several privacy regulations, I’ve practically doubled my knowledge of these factors. For this entry in my summer internship blog, I would like to share a few points that would have made an enormous difference in the beginning of my college career and saved me quite a bit of embarrassment as well.

Having a social life is actually very important

While the goal of hiring someone is to increase various measures of productivity such as profits, your boss and co-workers want to form a relationship in the work setting as well. When I first started working, I was under the impression that if I put my head down and worked hard every day, things would work out just fine. I soon found out that this wasn’t the way the world works. Business culture especially is based upon relationships. A simple happy hour or dinner party after work can be crucial for getting to truly know a group of people. It also helps develop trust and creates the perception of well-roundedness to others.

Learn to dress

There are so many rules that can be put here. Make sure your belt and shoes match, never button the bottom of your jacket, and for God’s sake, never wear a bowtie to work unless you’re positive you can pull it off (I see you Gordon Gee and Bill Nye). The list goes on and on. I’m not even going to attempt to address the feminine side of dressing professionally. The point is, keep it simple at first, and observe how people dress around you in various professional settings. There is something about dressing professionally that instills a sense of accountability and discipline at work.

Finally, no one likes a suck up, but find ways to stand out

Urban dictionary defines a suck up as “One who acts affectionately toward another so as to excel, usually because he cannot do so on his own merits.” There is a difference between doing this and impressing your superiors in a proper way. Learn the language of the industry, take initiative on a project, start work an hour early every once in a while. These prove that you have the ability to excel in a much more palatable fashion than an ill-placed compliment about your bosses “perfect family portraits.”

College is a great opportunity to learn about a particular industry and grades are given that accurately assess how well a person is doing. That being said, there is an entire ulterior set of skills necessary in the work world and I am far from fluent in it. At the very least, I don’t plan on wearing a polo shirt when I go looking for a full time job at our next career fair.

25 Short, Sweet Tips for Success as a Summer Intern

by Sarah Steenrod

While it seems like just yesterday (okay, so more like 13 years ago) I was an intern at Neiman Marcus in Las Vegas, the lessons I learned and experiences I had a during that pivotal time in my college and professional career are crystal clear. Here are some tips that will help make your internship a success:

  1. Set goals. Having personal and professional goals can help you make the most of your summer, stay on track, and know if you have achieved what you set out to do.
  2. Ask questions. An internship is a learning process and you may need to seek clarification along the way.
  3. Participate in all intern and company activities that you are invited to. It’s a great way to meet fellow interns and people at the company who are investing their time in your experience.
  4. Share your ideas. People want to know what you think, so speak up!
  5. If you finish your work, ask for more. By taking initiative, you may end up with an awesome project or learning experience.
  6. Pack your lunch. You’ll save money and calories. It’s absolutely fine to join your colleagues and treat yourself to lunch every once in a while, but you will thank yourself at the end of the summer if you don’t blow your paychecks on takeout sushi.
  7. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Always be sure to follow the dress code. Make sure your clothes are clean, neat, and pressed
  8. Get a good night’s rest. If you’re used to going to bed at 2 a.m., the sound of the alarm at 6 a.m. is going to be a rude awakening (literally and figuratively). No one at your workplace will care if you’re tired, so don’t look or act tired.
  9. Consider your internship a three-month interview. This is your opportunity to make the most of each day with the potential of getting a job offer at the end.
  10. Ask people if you can be of help to them. You might think you don’t have a lot to offer, but perhaps one of your colleagues has a child that is considering your university and would love to hear your perspective.
  11. Explore the city…and the food. If you’re in Cleveland, don’t miss the West Side Market and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. St. Louis is famous for fried ravioli. In Houston, be sure to try the BBQ.
  12. Exercise. Take a brisk walk, ride a bike, run, do yoga! Do whatever you like, just get moving!
  13. Drink water. That’s what the water coolers are for! Eight 8-ounce glasses day is what’s recommended, but if that sounds like a lot, just start with a couple glasses a day. It also helps to get a water bottle that you really like.
  14. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, find a way to fix it, and move on. Don’t make excuses.
  15. Connect with alumni from your school. Use your university’s alumni club. Tap into the LinkedIn Find Alumni tool.
  16. Check in regularly with your parents, family members, and friends and let them know how your internship is going….they will appreciate it.
  17. Say please. It’s amazing how many people will be willing to help you if you ask nicely.
  18. Follow all computer rules and lock your computer when you step away from your desk. Also, if your company has a social media policy, refrain from posting on Facebook during work hours.
  19. Ask for feedback. Some supervisors will be good at giving you positive and constructive feedback, while others may be less forthcoming. If they know it’s important to you, they may be more likely to give it.
  20. Avoid office gossip. If someone talks about others to you, they are probably talking about you to others.
  21. Pay attention to your experiences, reflect on them, and jot down a few notes. Your worst on-the-job experience may someday be your best interview story. The trick is remembering all the details.
  22. Wear sunscreen. Seriously
  23. Be present and enjoy the experience!
  24. Keep in touch. Don’t wait until you need something to e-mail your former supervisor. Send an e-mail every once in a while to check in and let them know how you’re doing.
  25. Thank people and let them know how they impacted your life and career. A handwritten note is a very nice touch.

Sarah Steenrod is Director of Undergraduate Career Consultation and Programs in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship

By Kaitlin Bressler, Undergraduate Career Consultant

With summer right around the corner, there is no better time than the present to determine how you will make the most of the journey you are about to embark on. Here are some tips to help you be most successful before, during, and after your internship.

Preparing for your Summer Internship:

Set Personal Goals

Before your summer internship, write a list of goals you hope to achieve over the summer. These goals can be work related, such as completing a certain type of project, or these could even be some personal goals you’ve set for yourself. For example, getting out of your comfort zone, or simply meeting new people and creating new relationships this summer. It’s a good idea to document these goals so that you can go back at the end of your internship and do some self-reflecting and hopefully realize that you’ve grown a lot throughout the course of your internship experience.

Seek out Alumni

It is always a good idea to reach out to alumni at your organization, or even just in your city so you have someone you can look to as a resource. Before you begin your internship, set up an initial coffee or lunch meeting. Have a list of good conversation starters prepared for when you meet up, such as “How did you originally find your position?” or “What do you enjoy the most about working at _____?” This person will likely be a great resource or mentor for you, especially if you are moving to a new city for your internship.

Dress Successfully

Make sure you know the office dress code expectations for the summer. If dress is business professional, you will want to make sure you’re prepared with the appropriate attire before the summer internship starts. Companies have different dress policies, so it’s a good idea to reach out to your HR representative to make sure you’re aware of the company dress policies before you start the internship.

Things to Consider During your Internship:

First Impressions/Confidence

It’s always important to maintain a good first impression. Make sure to be on time, and always be prompt to meetings, even if everyone else is not. During your internship it is important to remember that you are being observed under a magnifying glass, so try to minimize errors, but realize it is always ok to ask for help or clarification on projects. Try to find opportunities to contribute your ideas in group meetings, and find a way to be indispensable.

Track your Internship Projects

It is a good idea to keep track of all the projects you work on this summer. Good documentation of these assignments will help you in the future to remember what exactly you worked on (which will come in handy during future resume writing or interviewing).

Solicit Feedback

Make sure you have frequent check-in meetings with your internship supervisor and seek out feedback on your goals and achievements. Knowing your progress will help you be a more successful professional in the long run.

Handling Social Situations

Build the right kind of reputation by maintaining a high level of professionalism throughout the summer internship. Make an effort to get to know many people at your internship location this summer, and try to be friendly and open when communicating with colleagues or peers.

Stay in Touch with Internship Contacts

Staying in touch with contacts is extremely valuable. You never know when you will need a good recommendation, or need to consult someone about a new project you are working on. Because past colleagues can be great resources or references, it is good to maintain relationships so you can reach out to them if you’re ever in need.

What exactly is business casual?

Business casual- a pretty straight forward concept right? Sure, until you show up to an event thinking you are dressed business casual and realize your perception is VERY different from everyone else.


We have all been there. Business casual is about as specific as “Wear something dressy but not too dressy.” According to Google, business casual is, “relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression.”

What? Are you scratching your head??? Me too.

Below are a few quick tips on how to conquer the ambiguous “business casual” moniker:

1. My mother always says, “Better over-dressed than under-dressed.” Now, don’t show up wearing a ballgown or anything, but if you had the choice to talk about finance with either this guy:

Or this guy:

Who would you pick??? (All childhood biases aside)

2. Fit is key.

Your overall look should be “tailored” as in, the clothes should truly fit your body. Don’t worry about what size they are, just think about how they fit and how they feel. Clothes should never be too baggy, too long, or too tight. If you’re constantly having to adjust your clothing, it’s probably not the best choice.

Here are some great examples of two fun business casual outfits that truly fit the model.

pantsredcardi wrapdress

3. Black dress pants.
Black dress pants are always a safe bet. Add a nice tailored shirt like a button-up or a sweater to keep it business-like without being formal interviewing attire.

4. Go with comfortable and confident.
Lastly, choose what you what makes you feel good. Even the perfect business casual outfit will not work if you do not feel confident in it.

If you still need help deciding what to wear to a particular career event, don’t hesitate to stop by the Office of Career Management for additional tips!