Being a #Girlboss means busting ass and looking fabulous at the same time. It means being genuine, intelligent, and confident, while supporting your fellow #Girlbosses (and the company you work for). It means showing up at 8 am…and staying for happy hour afterwards!
After only the first two weeks of my summer internship as the Public Relations Intern at Ulta Beauty corporate headquarters, I’ve learned a whole lot about what it means to be a #Girlboss- especially in a company with 98% women working there (nothing against the dudes. You rock, dudes). Here’s some advice I have for all my other ladies out there with ambition, drive, and personal style, looking to rock their internships too:
And I don’t mean fetching coffee (we’ll get to that on # 2). I mean drink lots of it (this is obviously coming from me, an admitted caffeine addict, but still). You’ll need to be energetic and ready 100% of the time to jump on whatever project or task you might be given. Sometimes this means writing a draft for a pitch at 12 pm on a Friday, when you mind is on the weekend. Sometimes this means arriving at 7:45 am to help set up for an event, after staying after hours the day before. Coffee is your secret to keeping bright-eyed through any time of the workday, while diving in headfirst to any challenge. If you’re not a coffee person, either become one, or get into energy drinks. This is all part of working hard and getting a job done. Speaking of which…
2. That IS your job.
Do it, and do it well. Never, ever, think that a task is beneath you (even the notorious occasional coffee run. Hey, you might get free Starbucks out of it on the company card). My aunt, who works in PR, once told me that no job is too small (just like an actor might say that there are no small parts, only small actors). Sophia Amuroso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss, advises readers never to say, “That’s not my job.” It’s good advice. Because guess what? You were chosen for this internship, and you were chosen to do the work that your manager might otherwise be doing. This is the single most important mindset to have when working at an internship. Yes, it sucks if you’re making copies for all 40 hours of the week, and this is when you might want to speak up about taking on more meaningful tasks. But I gotta tell you, if you’re not doing those tasks, the person you report to probably would be.
I spend about half of each day compiling information reports and filling out spreadsheets, but I’m freaking stoked to do those spreadsheets. STOKED. Because with every product I enter, or media placement I track, I learn something about the company and the daily tasks of a public relations team (and not to mention Excel). And I am now the company’s resident expert on press coverage, product lines, and media requests. Your manager wants you to make a Powerpoint? Make it the best, most beautiful, most perfect damn Powerpoint they’ve ever seen. They’ll notice. They’ll be impressed. And they’ll really appreciate your motivation to help the team in any way you can.
P.S: Once you work hard and wow your boss at those smaller projects, your managers will trust you with the bigger ones. Keep going above and beyond. No job too small.
3. Dress for the job you have.
You know how people will tell you to “Dress for the job you want”? That’s great advice and all, because you want to walk in there looking like the successful person you aspire to being. But here’s the thing: You have this internship, and therefore you already are the successful person you aspire to being. You’ve got a killer job, and you should be wearing killer work outfits that show your killer attitude. My office is like a runway- the majority of the workers are women, and they walk in wearing gorgeous floral dresses, studded heels, and peplum tops (plus fun makeup, given that we work at a beauty company). They look fabulous because they feel fabulous to be working there, and you should feel just as fabulous! Take inspiration from your coworkers and strut your stuff.
Note: If your office attire is more conservative and only allows for suits/neutral colors, you can still work it in a power suit. Wear tailored pants and show personality through accessories, while sticking to your corporate culture. Nordstrom and Topshop are both great places to start, to find office essentials while still looking cute. Splurge on basics, and accessorize with trendier finds everywhere from Forever 21 to Goodwill!
Sleeveless blazer: Topshop
Black jeans: Free People
Statement necklace: Forever 21
Camel faux-leather wedges: Forever 21
4. Ask questions, but bust your own ass.
And by this, I mean that I encourage you to be a sponge and ask plenty of questions- but when you’re given a challenging project, it pays off to be a self-starter and figure things out on your own. When an editor requested higher-resolution images of a product, guess who had to find out how to get those images off Adobe Scene7?
My manager didn’t know how to use the Adobe Scene7 program, because the company had just changed their policy on having employees use the software. I was a little freaked out- from Photoshop to Premiere, how many more different Adobes will I have to learn at the last minute throughout my life?- but I’m never one to back down from a challenge, and after a couple hours on Google and the Adobe site, I was able to figure out the entire process of locating an exact product and exporting a high-res image. The next day, my manager scheduled a meeting with me so I could teach her how to use the software. Be self-reliant and self-taught, and you’ll make yourself not only useful to the team, but indispensable.
5. Work hard & be kind.
Working hard is only half the battle. Throughout your short but sweet time at the office, make it a point to reach out to everyone you meet, from the CEO to the other intern in another department. The first thing the interns did was make a Groupme- there are twelve of us (one in each department), and we stick together. Get lunch in the cafe when your coworkers are meeting up. Schedule meetings with others in your department so you can get to know the company on a more personal level. Offer to help out other managers even if you don’t directly report to them. And, most importantly, go to happy hour!
Work isn’t just about the actual work, but about the people you work with. You’ve probably already learned this from whatever boring job you worked before (I had the most fun sometimes doing the worst jobs, because I loved my coworkers. Shoutout to retail). Chances are, you got hired not just for your resume, but for your fit with the ~company culture~. Vibe with your team, be approachable, and have an amazing time with your people.
There you have it! It’s only been a couple weeks, but the things I’ve learned in my internship so far are incredibly valuable. I can’t wait to see what else I find out, so keep up as I post more about the ins and outs of intern life!
Oooh, ins and outs. That reminds me of In-N-Out, which I can’t get in Chicago. But I can get Portillo’s. Gotta go.