DO’s and DON’Ts for Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

Based on the knowledge I’ve accrued during my own internship experiences (three under my belt, thus far) and speaking with working professionals, here are some short tips for making the most of your summer as an intern:

DO take every chance you can get to explore the city or locale where you’re interning. You never know what you’re going to see and who you’re going to meet, and who knows, maybe you’ll want to work in the same city after graduation. This is your chance to indulge in your touristy desires and see for yourself if DC (or any other city) is the right place, career and personality-wise, for you to settle down in the future.

*Recommended to me by a coworker (thanks, Stacy!), the Washington Post has an excellent website with resources for DC interns, such as budget bites in the city, summer events & checklists and etc.

George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria. The view is absolutely beautiful from the top.

On the other hand, DO prioritize your internship. You are here in DC, first and foremost, to work and learn in the most politically charged and engaging atmosphere you will ever encounter. This means knowing when to stop drinking at happy hour before you do something you’ll later regret in front of your coworkers and/or bosses. This means completing your projects in a timely fashion and staying late at work, when necessary. This means being proactive and asking questions when you’re unclear about a task or project.         

DO network. Julie has provided an excellent guide below for doing so. Get out of your office and go strike up a conversation with your coworkers. It can be about something as mundane as coding or as interesting as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act!                                                          

DO display professionalism at all times. You just never know who is listening or watching. A professional attitude also extends to how you dress and how you carry yourself in the office. 

DO try to live with other interns for the duration of your internship. Not only will your rent be cheaper, but you’ll also be pushed to socialize and go to events in the city. Brittney and I can attest to the value of having a roommate who is also a fellow intern.                                        

DO NOT eat lunch alone. Unless, of course, you have work to do for your internship. Use the lunch hour as a time to network, connect with people in your office and/or in our team’s case, to discuss the direction of this blog.                                                                                                                              

DO NOT go on Facebook or social media websites at work, unless you’re a social media marketing intern or your internship requires you to visit those sites. Resist the urge, folks. 

DO NOT engage in office gossip. This is not “The Office” and you are not Michael Scott.


Source: NY Mag

DO NOT take your heels or dress shoes off under the table–no matter how uncomfortable your footwear may be. You’d be surprised at how many interns kick off their shoes at a conference table while they are in a meeting. It is unappealing, unprofessional and the last thing your fellow employees would want to see.                                                                                                              

DO NOT go to work if you are contagious. Nobody wants to see an intern yakking up a storm and spreading their germs in their work environment. Please do yourself and your coworkers a favor and stay home. It’s for the best.  



Snippet Thursday: Macarons


{Image Source: Instagram}

Collectively, our CAP group has been to Sweet Lobby, a cupcakerie and macaron shop, about 8 times. Laura and I alone have bought 4 boxes of these delicious, fluffy, sweet desserts. So here, fresh from Instagram, is our ode to the lovely French treats. May our wallets have mercy.


Snippet Thursday: National Museums

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Visited the the Air and Space Museum not too long ago and there were so many different impressive planes (like the Blackbird above), the Discovery shuttle (you can kind of see on the left side of the picture in the back), Wright planes, the Enola Gay (dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima), etc.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re interning in the DC area: visit all the national museums because most of them are free!

Snippet Thursday: Crabs!

Located on the Southwest waterfront directly under I-395, the Maine Avenue Fish Market, known simply to locals as “The Wharf”, is the oldest continuously running fish market in the United States. Fresh and/or live seafood is sold on floating barges that line the pier on Water Street. Not only is The Wharf an historical landmark, but it’s also one of the best places to get great seafood for outstanding prices.

During the summer, live blue crabs are sold for less than a dollar each! And to top that off, the fishermen give you the option of having your live crabs steamed and seasoned with generous heapings of Old Bay Spices on the spot. Apart from crabs, fresh fishes, shrimp, oysters, mussels, lobsters, etc are all sold here for great prices and are freshly caught. The Maine Avenue Fish Market is a must-see destination for both tourists and locals, and YOU should definitely check it out during the summer!



How to Dress for Success: Internship Tips for Guys

When I was on summer break after my sophomore year of high school, I was preparing for my first internship/summer program. It was a medical program designed for high school students, and the information brochure mentioned something about a “business casual” dress code for orientation. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but when you’re 15, the word “casual” means basketball shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers. So that’s exactly what I wore on my first day. Words alone cannot describe how embarrassing it was to be the only person in a group of 20 mistaken for someone’s lost child in the middle of orientation. And I’ll just let you all imagine how funny a 15 year old might have looked wearing oversized basketball shorts and a Nike tee under a giant lab coat in a group of 20 others wearing suits.

It’s pretty obvious to say that after that experience, I learned the importance of dressing well for any job/internship. And luckily for all of you, that’s my topic for today: work clothes for guys & general workplace etiquette.

The first tip I have for eager interns is to overdress for any interview and/or first day. When you don’t know what the office’s dress code is, play it safe by wearing dress pants, a dress shirt, at tie, and a jacket. Whenever you wear a suit, you’ll never be underdressed. But if you end up being overdressed, others will still think that you’re taking your first day seriously, which is a good first impression. During your first day, however, it’s important to make note of what your coworkers wear so that you get a feel for the office environment and come back more appropriately dressed the second day if not everyone wears a suit.

Workspace attire for men can generally be divided into 3 different categories: business, business casual, and casual.

Business is what I’ve already mentioned, dressing in a suit. This is usually for more conservative and professional jobs, such as banking, consulting, government, law firms, etc.


Typical components of businesswear

Don’t forget to iron your pants and shirts, buy a nice belt, and always dry-clean your jackets. And for those of you who really need to dress to impress, invest in a pair of cufflinks, polish your shoes, and find a pocket square. Dark suits are always preferred, unless you want to go through all that effort just to look like Colonel Sanders or The Riddler. Remember, you’re only an intern. So dress to impress, and don’t dress like an idiot unless you’re in upper management and can’t get fired by anyone.

Business casual is what I wear every day. Although I’m in a government agency, I noticed that no one on my floor really wears a jacket or tie. But I wouldn’t say that my case is always true in other federal agencies. Business casual is more of the norm in technology industries and more laid-back workplaces, but it’s quickly becoming more widespread in other business professions. What it means is simply that you wear nice pants and a dress shirt. Your pants can either be dark and ironed dress pants or sometimes even khakis. There’s also more room for variety when it comes to shirts. You can go for the classic fit or buy slim fitting shirts that don’t require ironing. Jackets and ties are optional, but nice shoes, socks, and a belt are still all required. Basically, think of business casual as how a banker or lawyer dresses when s/he is relaxing.


Classy, yet casual

A casual dress code is something that, as interns, you normally don’t find unless you’re working in research for engineering, biology, chemistry, etc. In other industries where you’re required to work with your hands and sometimes get messy, you also wouldn’t wear a suit. But casual attire can mean really anything from wearing jeans to shorts and a t-shirt. Again, if you’re not doing scientific research, I would advise against dressing casually, even on Fridays, because an important aspect of any job is meeting and networking with other people. In business, you’ll have a hard time doing any of this if you don’t look professional or even presentable.


Might be appropriate for working in a lab, but not much else

The point is, if you’re working in business, make sure to at least have dress shoes, shirts, and pants. Wearing a jacket and tie depends on the occasion/industry, but it’s always a good idea to play it safe on the first day. It’s pretty easy for guys. Just use common sense and don’t stand out from the crowd by being underdressed or just poorly dressed.

 ‘Till Next Week,



Networking Tips for Summer Interns

I had previously mentioned that networking is essential to success. It’s spending a couple of minutes with a professional or mentor in hopes of gaining a contact that will help you achieve advance your career. He/She might be working in an industry you’re interested in or may know others who can help you get your foot into the door. Even if someone may not give you any advantages at the moment, keeping in touch with people and getting to know them is still helpful. You may never know who will end up where, and what kind of positions that they can offer to you.


It’s all about making connections.

To the current interns out there, always keep this in mind! It’s never too early to start. It’s not only about trying totalk to professionals either. Networking with other students and interns is also important. Remember to invest your time with others regardless of position or potential. Don’t look down on anyone or disregard anyone because you think that they won’t be helpful. Everyone is part of this “network.”

I’m not a pro at networking…but here are some tips I learned.


1. Be proactive and don’t be a wallpaper. People will never be able to help you out, inform you of other opportunities, or connect you with a helpful contact if they never get to know you.

2. Be real but professional. While it’s good to show what you’ve accomplished or experienced, you also want to be friendly and make the person you’re talking to comfortable. Speaking to them as if you’re reading off your resume is boring unless you’ve done something amazing and unique that piques their interest. Remain professional as well. Don’t go off tangent and start talking about fighting with cops, binge drinking, etc. You want to maintain a friendly conversation, balance the conversation, and leave a good impression. Be polite!


Smile, shake hands and engage.

3. Exchange business cards. If you are actively networking, a business card might help others remember you. But honestly, this is more for yourself. You want to get a business card to remember exactly who you spoke to and get their contact information. If you want to keep this contact, email them later that night or the next day to ask to meet up for coffee to talk about something that was briefly mentioned when you met this contact. It’s recommended to make a spreadsheet of all your contacts. Email them periodically to update them on how you’ve been doing. I have peers that email their contacts once a semester to keep them in the loop. Not everyone will always reply or exchange emails, but you just might never know.

It even has a watermark….

4. Practice Practice Practice! It’s difficult for everyone to start. You hate those 2 minute awkward silences when your brain is going crazy just trying to think of a question to ask. And then you just look like a creeper that just stares at the other person’s eyes (since you’ve been taught to look at the eyes when speaking)…or maybe just the ceiling or the floor. But it’s going to be difficult for everyone in the beginning. You have to keep practicing to get comfortable with people. You develop techniques over time and practice. You get feedback from a person’s reaction and learn to hone your networking skills.

Where does all this networking happen? Sign up to be on listservs for organizations you’re interested in. In law school, there are several bar associations in the local area that have networking events. Attend these events! But networking doesn’t necessarily occur only in these types of events. It can happen in the classroom, talking to a professor, speaking to the person sitting next to you at the bar. It can happen anywhere! It depends on you to speak up.

Business Insider

(Source: Business Insider)

+++++++A PLUS TO NETWORKING! You might get a mentor! A mentor who is hopefully in the field you’re interested in and will teach you the ins and outs. Maybe edit and proofread your resume/cover letter and connect you to other people.

You might say that networking is terrible because you’re talking advantage of people. But it’s a necessity. All professionals know this. But don’t go around and make it obvious that you want to take advantage of select people. People won’t be willing to help you instantly. It takes time for people to notice that you’re an interesting and smart person who is dedicated. Only then will a person help you in one way or another.

I hope that my tips from my own experiences help! If there are any other tips/suggestions you would like to share, please do! We all need to look out for  each other. Sharing information is beneficial to all.

Until next Tuesday!


How to Dress for an Internship (Ladies)

For this week, each of us will be posting about how to survive in the workplace: from looking sharp to impressing your boss. Come back daily for tips on how to be a memorable and effective intern.

As an intern veteran, I can tell you that, when it comes to internship fashion, there are usually two types of interns: the first type believes that, as unpaid interns, they simply do not have enough money or incentive to preen for the office environment. The second type wants to show off the fact that they can dress well, and can be found in fashionable skirts that are, alas, four inches too short. This blog post will hopefully give you a few tips on how to be the third, much rarer type of intern: one who uses what’s already in their closet to create internship outfits, who strays on the “business” side of business casual, and who is ultimately known for being chic and brilliant, not dowdy or distracting.

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{Images from Another Beautiful Thing}

Some tips to keep in mind for making your wardrobe memorable (for the right reasons):


1) Ladies, keep the skirts close to knee-length, and fingertip-length at a minimum. This includes the slit in the back—it should not reveal any of your leg above finger-tip length.

2) Bandage skirts are not pencil skirts. Don’t wear them to the office.

3) If you cannot sit down in your skirt without having to pull it down, do not wear it to work. Wear pants. Revel in your equality and the fact that women can now wear pants to the office.

4) Lined skirts are best—but there isn’t a peekaboo problem in the world that a half-slip can’t solve.


1) Usually, pants straight from the store are a little long for the average woman (if they fit perfectly on you, congrats!) Don’t let the hem drag on the ground: find a tailor on Yelp who can shorten the pants leg for about $20. Optimally, the pants should hit at the middle of your heel, if you are wearing heels, or one inch off the ground in flats.


1) If you can wear those heels to the club, they don’t belong in the boardroom.

2) Now is not the time for platforms or shoes with studs and other hardware.

3) Err on the side of conservative and invest in a pair of closed-toe pumps.


1) Keep your shoulders covered—besides, your office will probably be too cold to go sleeveless.

2) If your shirt is semi-sheer (polyester blouses from Forever 21, anyone?) , wear a blazer or cardigan over it. No, a tank top underneath will not suffice. Everyone can see the tank straps, and your bra straps.

3) Before you wear the shirt to your office, take it for a stretch. Pull your arms back, and make sure there are no gaps between the buttons. Stretch your arms up, and make sure that it’s long enough to meet your skirt or pants.

So what can you wear to the office? Most likely, you probably already own some appropriate office clothes. Here are some key pieces that will last you throughout the summer:

1) Cardigans–one instance where bright colors and prints are recommended, to bring personality to your outfit.

2) Pencil skirts or slacks.

3) Knee-length dresses or shift dresses .

4) Simple flats or low heels.

5) Black blazers.

6) White or gray button-down shirt.

If you want more internship outfit inspiration, you can visit me at my fashion blog, Another Beautiful Thing. And remember, no matter what else you’re wearing, a confident smile will help you look more vibrant and enthusiastic, guaranteed.