5 Questions I didn’t know to ask (and the answers I’ve found)
By Melissa Breau
1. Excuse me, how do I pronounce that?
My first interview I had an appointment to meet with Juree and Afua. I had no idea how to pronounce either woman’s name. If you’re ever stuck like this, just wait until evening, when it’s unlikely they will be in the office and call their voicemail. Most people include their name in their voicemail message and you can hear how they pronounce it. You can also always ask the receptionist when you arrive or by phone a few days before.
2. What’s the deal with references?
No one expects you to have a pile of letters sitting around. They would rather you provide names, numbers and email addresses. Be sure the people you are listing know you’re listing them. If they don’t expect the call, they won’t know what to say. It reflects badly if a potential employer calls your reference and they draw a blank. Never list a reference unless you’re sure it will be a good reference.
3. How do I meet people?
Volunteering to work events or conferences in your field is a great way to start. But it’s not the only way. I met one of my best contacts on a train. I’m going into publishing and was reading a book on freelancing. A man who worked for a major publishing company saw the title and asked me about it. We talked for the rest of the ride and have kept in touch ever since.
4. Where do I start?
Most jobs require multitasking, particularly internships and entry level jobs. You should do things in the order they are given to you, unless there is a deadline. Deadlines need to be met. Anything with a deadline is your first priority.
5. How do I possibly remember everything they teach me during training?
Remember taking notes in school? You should take notes in the real world too. During my first internship I kept a notebook dedicated exclusively to the job. I had notes for every type of memo I was expected to draft and every assignment I received. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember to write down the answers to avoid asking the same question twice. It will save you (and your boss) time, and it makes you look organized.
Melissa Breau will be graduating from Manhattanville College this May with a BA in English. She is a part-time writer and plans to go into the book publishing industry. She keeps a blog all about it at http://mbreau.wordpress.com/.