Being a Great Intern

The way you dress for work is an important way to command respect, build trust, and portray a professional image. Workplace attire can affect the image you convey to co-workers, influence responsibility, promotions and your future within the workplace.

It is common to dress in business attire for the interview in order to make a great first impression. Suit jackets and slacks are appropriate for gentlemen, while women may wear a suit jacket and knee length skirt. However, it may happen that your interview takes place on a “dress down” day. If you are unsure of how to dress for work, please do not be afraid to ask. It is better to inquire than to feel uncomfortable and make a less than perfect impression on your first day of work.

While business attire has no specific definition, there are guidelines that are in your best interest to follow. For women, a conservative, solid color suit with a complementary blouse is a respectful ensemble. Be sure to go light on make-up and jewelry. It is also important to wear your hair in a neat and professional manner, and have your fingernails clean and trimmed.

For men as well, conservative is a key word. Solid color suits, long sleeved shirts, and a conservative tie are very important. It is also important to remember small things about the apparel that make a big difference, such as wearing dark colored socks rather than light, manicured nails, and very little to no cologne or aftershave.

There are many companies that allow their employees to dress in "business casual" attire. While casual sounds a lot more comfortable and relaxed, it is still your responsibility to look professional. For women, khaki, corduroy, or neatly pressed cotton pants or skirts are completely acceptable. Sweaters, cardigans, and polo shirts will also look professional when worn neatly. It is important to remember that solid colors are better to wear in the work place than bright or busy patterns.

Men, cotton and khaki pants can be worn as long as they are washed and neatly pressed. Pressed long sleeve button down shirts, polo shirts, and knit shirts with a collar will make you look and feel good around the office. However, don’t forget about your feet! Make them look professional too by wearing nice leather shoes. Match them with a leather belt and you’ll be perfectly business casual.

In Focus: An Intern Success Story

It is not only how you look around the workplace that matters, but also how you conduct yourself. First and foremost, it is crucial to be able to carry on a conversation with a co-worker.

It helps build relationships between the people you see and work with on a daily basis. While learning about a co-worker’s skills is a good idea, asking or talking about their personal life isn’t. It may be slightly more difficult to stray away from the personal lives of your co-workers in a small environment, but for your integrity and the integrity of your workplace, it is imperative to set boundaries. Although there is no clean cut line, it is best to stay away from topics that may make someone feel uncomfortable. Even if you are not the person saying inappropriate things, you will definitely encounter someone else saying it to you. In this situation it is best to turn the conversation back to something work related as quickly as you can.

Also, working with the same people for thousands of hours a year, you are bound to develop close friendships with your co-workers. It is important to fully trust this co-worker. If the friendship starts to put a strain on your work environment, it is in the best interest of both of you to give each other some space. Lastly, if you have an issue with a co-worker, address what you can do to help solve the problem. Talk to this person honestly, directly, and privately.


Performing on the Job