The Good Intern
New Year, New Goals
The First Day
Posted by Michelle Pence - - 0 comments

I love good stories about college-age entrepreneurs who made it big with their start-up companies.  This list by Wallet Pop includes the obvious (Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook notoriety) and some you might not have heard of before.

Monster recently posted a pretty extensive article about hot jobs that didn’t exist back when our generation was growing up.  Did you grow up wanting to be a green marketer? Probably not. 

Plenty of people I know lust after the days when Facebook was limited to college students only.  Would you leave Facebook for a college only social networking site?

The New York Times has an article about social networking your way to a job.  Welcome to 2010.

I don’t know much about the new Facebook Places feature besides that it’s something like Four Square, but Business Week says the real rival is Yelp. 

If you want to be smarter than your brain (how awkward does that sound?), this article from Life Hacker has some really interesting ways to train your brain to think differently so you can be more productive. 

I love apps!  Web Storm has a list of 20 back to school apps and tools for college students
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Posted by Michelle Pence - - 4 comments

Ugly Betty on her first day at Mode.

You composed a cover letter that has the potential to win a literary award, you totally connected with the person who interviewed you, and then of course... YOU GOT THE INTERNSHIP!

Take a deep breath my friend, because the hard part is over.  Now, all you have to do is make a great first impression and completely rock the first day of your internship.  No big deal, right?  It won't be, because with these tips your first day will be stress-free and get you amped up for the amazing internship experience to come.

What to do before showing up

Figure out parking

Chances are, parking is not something on your mind the few days before your internship starts, but it should be.  You definitely don't want to show up ready for work only to find out that the parking situation is a huge headache and end up being late or starting your day completely stressed because of it.  Simply ask your internship coordinator what the deal is on intern parking and you'll avoid having to worry about it the day-of.

Know the location

Be sure to either have the location plugged into your GPS the night before, or better yet, have scouted it out beforehand to find out what traffic will be like.  Stressing about things such as parking and where you're going should not be taking up your energy on the first day, so do a little advanced preparation and avoid these hassles.

Plan what you're going to wear

Remember the days when you would lay out your outfits the night before grade school to make sure you were looking your best... or maybe because your mom made you?  Reverting to those days is not such a bad idea the night before your internship.  At the very least, you should be fully aware of the company's dress code.  Just check with your internship coordinator to figure out what's appropriate and what's not.  I think it's safe to assume that sky high heels and short skirts are probably a no-go no matter where you're interning at, so save those for the weekend.

Do your research

You should know the company's website like the back of your hand before you start your internship.  Okay... well maybe not quite that extreme, but you should take the time to thoroughly examine more than just the front page of the site, including the company's mission, what they do, and the staff page.  Before my first legislative internship, someone told me about an intern who had once made flashcards with all of the senator's names and faces on them, so he could memorize them all, and when he passed a senator in the halls of the Capitol, he could say, "Good morning Senator So-and-So."  While you probably don't need to follow his approach for the employees of the company you'll be interning for, which might border on over-prepared and maybe a little psychotic, be familiar with the employees who are listed on the website, and especially anyone who you've had previous contact with.

Make a plan

You want to have a clear idea about what the morning of your internship will be like... what time you'll wake up, when you need to get out the door, how long it will take to get there, etc.  Plan to get to the office 15-20 minutes early, since this is pretty much the norm for the first day, and if you're really good, will be the standard for the rest of your internship.  Whether or not you're on time is one of the most obvious things your boss will be looking for on your first day and one of the things you definitely should not screw up on.  If you absolutely must have your caffeine fix the morning-of, plan ahead and account for that time in your schedule.

What to bring

A notebook

The key to transitioning a great first day into a successful internship, is to write down virtually everything you're told during your training.  Sometimes your supervisor will be super approachable and be happy to answer questions you have at any point in your internship, and other times you will get the supervisor from hell who really just doesn't want to deal with you.  I've had them both.  You never know, so avoiding redundant questions by writing everything down is the way to go.  DON'T use your phone to take notes; it might look like you're texting or not completely paying attention.

Something to write with

This is not elementary school.  You shouldn't have to ask to borrow a pen.  Be prepared and bring several of your own.


Your internship coordinator should indicate what exactly you need to bring your first day as far as documents go.  This may include a photo copy of your driver's license, social security card, or any paperwork that needed to be filled out in advance.  Whatever you do, don't forget to bring what was requested.  Forgetting something that was requested makes a HORRIBLE first impression, so gather everything up in a folder ahead of time, and don't forget to grab it on the way out.


You probably won't know exactly what your lunch break will be like, whether you'll be able to go out and grab something to eat or will be expected to bring something with you.  Bring some small food items with you like granola bars, fruit, bottled drinks, etc. along with some cash so you're prepared for whatever ends up being the case.

Feel free to share if you have any other tips on how to have a good first day of an internship.  Also, stay tuned for tips on how to make a lasting (in a good way) first impression on the people at your internship!

P.S. Welcome College Fashion readers!  I'm so excited and honored to have been featured on the Haute Links list this week.  For more useful tips on interning and preparing for the work force, don't forget to subscribe above and follow The Good Intern on Twitter and Facebook.  Have a GREAT school year!
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Posted by Michelle Pence - - 2 comments

Honestly, when I decided to join a sorority my freshman year of college, I wasn't exactly thinking about how being a member was going to help find me an internship somewhere down the road (more like how cute each chapter's shirts were).  During recruitment, all of the sororities filled my head with thoughts of the lifelong friendships I could form, the amazing social events constantly going on, and just how much fun I would have in general; however, one thing I don't remember hearing was, "Joining will really help you with your career."  

After becoming a full-fledged member of one of the sororities, I quickly realized that being a member of a sorority/fraternity isn't all fun and games (the Animal House days are definitely over).  I ended up receiving both the friendship and the fun I was promised during recruitment, but was also encouraged to keep my GPA at a certain level, study so many hours per week, become involved with other organizations on campus, volunteer in the community, and other things I hadn't really anticipated upon joining.  I ended up getting to know both university officials and community leaders, and received a lot of extra opportunities I probably wouldn't have had if I hadn't decided to go Greek.

The more exciting aspects of being in a fraternity or sorority, like what was advertised to me, will probably always be the bait used to get those fun-loving freshman to join up, but for career-minded students, the benefits joining a sorority/fraternity may have for you professionally are definitely something to consider.

Here are some different ways being in a fraternity/sorority is good for your career:

"[I/my son/my neighbor's cousin] was Greek!"

Being in a fraternity or sorority gives you access to a network of others across the country who were also Greek in college.  I cannot tell you how many times I've personally been approached while wearing my sorority letters by complete strangers, excited because either their wife is an alumni of my sorority or their daughter is a member at another school, etc.  In job/internship interviews, if I bring up my sorority involvement, it's not unusual for me to end up bonding with the interviewer who, it turns out, was also Greek in college.  

This shared experience is an excellent topic to bond with people over and also a great icebreaker.  Who knows... with the right maneuvering, what starts as a casual conversation about your fraternity/sorority could easily turn into a conversation about your professional aspirations and a great networking opportunity.

The Leadership

It seems that as a member of a fraternity or sorority, you definitely get as much or as little out of the experience as you put into it.  You can either cruise along, doing as little as possible to retain your membership, or take full advantage of the opportunities available.  If you choose the latter, you'll most likely end up serving an executive or chair position within your chapter, or some other leadership position either within your chapter or with another organization on campus.  

In that capacity you might, for example, end up organizing a successful fundraiser that raises XYZ amount of money, overseeing 20+  chair positions, or planning an event for the whole student body to attend.  These type of experiences definitely help prepare you for internships and jobs to come, giving you tons of relevant skills, and look amazing on your resume.

The Connections

Ironically, the internship I'll be participating in this semester was made possible all because of an event I helped put on for a Greek organization.  A well-known local attorney came to speak to the fraternities and sororities on campus about local laws regarding alcohol and other topics college students would care about.  The attorney was young and charismatic, and when I found out he would be teaching a Legal Communication class as an adjunct professor, I quickly signed up.  Fast forward a year later and now I'm interning for his law office!

Being in a fraternity or sorority often gives you the opportunity to work closely with prominent university officials as well as professionals in the local community.  These people realize that you're a college student and, after you demonstrate how dedicated and motivated you are, will usually do what they can to help you out professionally.

How do YOU think being in a fraternity or sorority benefits/harms a person professionally?

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Posted by Michelle Pence - - 0 comments

Yup, that's me!
I recently came across an article by College Candy about why you should be excited to head back to campus this fall, and I found it really interesting.  I personally am gearing up to go back to school and have been experiencing mixed feelings of excitement and dread about going back.  On one hand, I’m excited to be reunited with friends I haven’t seen all summer, but on the other, I’m not quite ready to pack away my bikini and accept that my summer fun is over.

Thanks to College Candy, I decided to stop fixating on the not-so-fun aspects of going back to school, and start thinking about all of the positive things that come with college.

Here are some of my reasons why you should be pumped to be heading back to school this fall:

Fall internships

Of course I had to throw this one in.  Starting a new internship is super exciting and nerve-wracking, so get pumped and be prepared to make the most of it.  Stay tuned for tips on how to rock the first day of your internship and how to make a great first impression.

Planners, and notebooks, and highlighters!  Oh, My!

If you’re anything like me, just thinking about organizational products such as sticky notes and a new planner gives you a little bit of a buzz.  Ever since grade school, loading up on new binders, pens and pencils, and a new book bag, got me completely revved up and ready to start a brand new school year.  Try convincing your parents that you simply must have that new Sony laptop in order to ace one of your classes, and then tell me that you don’t feel a little excited for school to start.

Being busy

If you like having a jam-packed schedule, the school year is definitely time for you to shine.  Having to balance work, school, and an internship with your social life is challenging, but also can give you a great feeling of accomplishment if you do it well.

New classes

Going to class again can be both a pro and a con of going back to school.  The pro is that you have a brand new schedule full of different professors and subjects, so the suspense of what the semester will bring should keep you excited about what lies ahead.

Living with friends

Although you love ‘em, living at home with mom and dad over the summer is definitely not the ideal living situation.  Whether you’ll be living in the dorms or in an apartment off-campus, chances are you’ll be rooming with friends.  Savor this kind of living arrangement, because before you know it, you’ll be living on your own or with a boyfriend/girlfriend, which is a completely different experience.

Um hello, its college!

College doesn’t last forever, so there’s no time to be fixating on the bad.  Graduating and stepping into the “real world” has always seemed like some distant possibility to me, but now all of a sudden I’m a senior and this alleged “real world” is coming at me fast.  Make an effort to appreciate the good AND the bad parts of being a college student.  You won't be a student forever, but until then live it up!

What parts of going back to school are YOU excited about?
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Posted by Michelle Pence - - 5 comments

A couple weeks ago I gave you several tips for wrapping up your summer internship… one of those tips being, “ask for a letter of recommendation”. Truth is, asking for a letter of recommendation (LOR) is a lot more complex than I made it seem in my one paragraph tip. I myself am currently in the process of gaining LORs from several contacts at former internships for law school applications, and let me tell you… I know how confusing and sensitive the whole deal is.

This time, I’m going to give you all of the information you are entitled to know before asking for a letter of recommendation.

Jump on it

As soon as your internship is nearing to an end, take the time to approach your supervisor in person and ask if they’d be willing to write a LOR on your behalf.  This way, your performance is still fresh in their mind.  It never hurts to ask for a LOR simply to have one handy for future opportunities.  The general rule is to have 2-3 on file at any given time.

Choose your approach

Schedule a time to meet with your supervisor in their office; don’t spring the big question on them in passing. Meeting with the recommender in person is the most professional and preferred method, but if you are unable to do so don’t freak out. For whatever reason, if you can’t meet with them in person, I personally feel like a well-written email is acceptable, as long as you treat it like a formal letter.

How to ask

I like to split the process of asking for a LOR into two main steps: getting the recommender to agree to write the letter, and giving them the details. This way, you aren’t overwhelming them with too many specifics right off the bat.

Get them to agree

Obviously the main aspect of this step is simply asking if they will write you a LOR, but you need to be prepared to let them know why they should.

Be clear about what purpose you are seeking the LOR for, whether it's for future employment opportunities, grad school, law school, etc. This will give them an idea of what angle to take when writing the LOR.  Be ready to explain why you are seeking the opportunity... such as what you plan to study in grad school and why you want to study that subject.

 Set a deadline (give them AT LEAST a month) and let them know it, but don’t expect them to remember just from this initial contact.

Be a stickler for details

After they agree to write you a LOR (and surely they will since you were such a good intern), follow-up by mailing them a formal letter with all of the specific details and repeating what you mentioned during the initial contact. A letter that can be physically handled is preferential because it’s less likely to get lost than an email and enclosures can be read more easily. Your letter should include, once again, why you are asking for a LOR, what the deadline is, and any other instructions (official letterhead, where to send it, etc.).

One of the secrets to scoring a killer LOR is to essentially write it yourself. I don’t mean actually writing the entire letter yourself, but detailing what you want the recommender to say about you. “I was hoping maybe you could talk about how I'm the best intern you have ever had, and that any employer would be lucky to have me,” is probably not going to cut it, but letting them know you are hoping they could mention particular things in the letter such as your magnetic personality, or how you dealt with problems, such as that time you saved the entire office from a swarm of killer bees.

In one of the latest letters I wrote asking for a LOR for law school, I said…

“My other references will be able to talk about my academic ability, but you really know the extent of my written and oral communication skills, such as my ability to read and listen effectively. Several examples I thought of include analyzing bill texts and communicating with constituents and other Senate staff. I was hoping maybe you could talk about how I handle stress and think critically to solve problems, because those are qualities the selection committee wants to see. One example of this would how I unexpectedly handled the management of the office during [the legislative assistant’s] brief absence.”

Enclose what they need

You definitely want to at least enclose a current resume. Other materials you can include are a writing sample, transcript, and anything else applicable to the specific situation you are getting the LOR for.  For my situation, aside from the required LSAC cover sheet that needed to be included with the LOR, I enclosed a brief article about how to write LORs for law school for their reference, and because the process is very specific.

Also, if the letter needs to be sent somewhere, make sure to include an envelope and postage as to not cause any more trouble for the recommender.

Say thanks... then say it again

You should be saying thank you every step of the way… after they initially agree, when you send the follow-up materials, and definitely after you receive the LOR or confirmation that it was sent to where it needs to go. Writing a good LOR should take quite a bit of time for the recommender, so be grateful. A handwritten thank you note is obligatory after the process is completed.  Updating the recommender on whether or not you got the opportunity the letter was being used for, is another good way to keep your name in their mind and maintain a good relationship with them for future opportunities.

P.S. Welcome College Fashion readers!  I'm amazed by the over-whelming support this post has received since being mentioned in the Haute Links section of College Fashion's blog.  Don't forget to Subscribe before you go and check out The Good Intern on Twitter and Facebook.  Thanks for stopping by!
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Posted by Michelle Pence - - 2 comments

You got the interview.
You got the internship.
You got the business-ey wardrobe staples.
You got through the first couple weeks without walking out....or crying (good for you!).

How do you make sure you don't lose your personality in the process?

Besides making yourself memorable to your boss/coworkers, having a unique office style is important to feeling comfortable in your new environment. With that said, making your day-to-day outfit office appropriate, but also trendy and fashionable is way easier than it seems... PROMISE! :)

I have written out 3 no-fail ways to add some spice to those pencil skirts and collared shirts that can help any guy/girl look snazzy but still be taken seriously this coming fall.

The easiest rut to get into when piecing together outfits for work is sticking simply with know, gray, black, navy, white...those colors. Of course, everyone will look great in these because they mix and match well...but who wants to blend in? The point of your internship is to impress and to continually work hard, but more importantly, you need to leave an impression! Adding colors and prints are the absolute easiest way to do this. Now, please note, this must, must, must be done in moderation and only with your clothing (not your hair or makeup). Ladies, we definitely have more options than our gender opposites however, guys, you definitely have ways that can make you stand out a little bit. English Laundry offers some shirts that have interesting details that make your look different than anybody else, such as creative button arrangements or contrasting cuffs. If you want something a little simpler, add some color with a thin pinstripe on a neutral colored shirt like this one from Ralph Lauren. Ladies, like I said your options are different and more expansive. The most simple way to jazz up your everyday pencil skirt or slacks is to add a colored ruffle shirt on top or a patterned skirt on bottom (remember, colors/patterns should be on either top or bottom for the office...never both!).

Once the temperatures start to drop, another simple way to update your office wardrobe is to simply throw on a layer...or two! Whether it is a cardigan, sweater, jacket, scarf, etc. the important thing is to stray away from the norm and maybe try a different fabric or color choice. Men, you have a lot more options than you realize here. Whether you're simply doubling up with a vest or blazer,or going a little further and rockin' the cardigan (Kanye's staple), your personal style will definitely show through, showing your attention to detail and that you value how you present yourself. Now for us women, it's not about the addition of a layer to make you stand out, but doing it in a modern and fresh way. Trying a new texture, different cut or an interesting detail will make your office cover-up interesting to those in the office. Although pricey, this option from Rebecca Taylor gives a great example.

Alright boys, I know what you're thinking and don't fret, I'm not going to tell you to start wearing jewelry...
Let me start by saying that it's apparent with all of us that technology is the new age. Your accessories can be anything from on your body to in your hand. Cell phones are becoming widely used in the workplace as Blackberrys, iPhones, Droids, etc. start to take over the e-mail world. The first thing I recommend if you DO use your phone in the workplace, consider spending the money to get a trendy or patterned cell phone case. [NOTE: I am not condoning using your cell phone while working, only if for work purposes and approved by your facebook for the good intern, ok ;) ] Guys, you also could invest in a patterned tie, trendy watch, or new cuff links to spruce up an everyday outfit that may be a little more basic than you would like. Female friends, we have a lot more options and they are also more readily available. The obvious choices are statement necklaces, chic headbands (THESE ARE $1.50!!!) or waist-cinching belts that are currently big in the market. No matter what your choices, guys and gals, a little extra zing will definitely help get you noticed and all of these choices will fit the office well, however, make sure to do all of this in moderation :)

With these tips, I'm sure you all will have the confidence to walk through the front doors next time you work with confidence and a smile...and, if you're a "typical intern," coffees for everyone in the office ;)

-Style On!
Ashli Pollard
Blog Writer for College Fashionista
Missouri State University-Fashion Merchandising, Emphasis in Promotion
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