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Intern Diaries

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In early June, a rising senior at West Chester University with dreams of starting his own business gave us some time as an intern and offered useful lessons for anyone seeking quick On-The-Job Training.

In my early summer internship with McKinney & Associates, I learned a lot of what it takes to be a successful worker regardless of the field. I can best boil down my experience into five lessons.

One: Always dress the part when on the job. If I walked into an office for an interview with jeans and a t-shirt people could easily assume that I am unprofessional, maybe not a cultural fit or that I might possibly be an unreliable employee.  However, if I walk into the office in a suit and tie or nice business casual it signals that I am an adult who is serious about my career.

Two: Deadlines. Deadlines. Deadlines. Missing deadlines says a lot about a person and their work ethic. Deadlines are like promises – don’t make any that you can’t keep.

Three: Even more important than meeting deadlines is being ahead of them.  If there is work that doesn’t have to be completed until the following week, but you have time, go ahead and knock it out. This can free up a lot of space, keep you ahead of the game and minimize mistakes.

Four: Write everything down. Everything. Having multiple deadlines and tasks to handle can become extremely overwhelming especially if you are not keeping good track of what needs to be done. Great notetaking makes it easier to break down your tasks into segments so that you don’t become overwhelmed with work.

Five: Chemistry with co-workers is imperative – especially when working on a small team.  If you cannot collaborate with peers without having frequent disagreements it will not only make it hard to develop a healthy relationship, but also make it much more difficult to complete daily tasks. The work place is enjoyable when everyone gets along!

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