02 August 2008

Internship Dress Code

I haven't had a dress code since middle school!
  • Or maybe you never did.
  • In the workplace, customary attire may be written into a policy, or...
  • It may be communicated strictly through example.
What is typical?
  • No shorts. No skin.
  • At some workplaces, no bare arms. Even in summer!
  • Jewelry and make-up to "fit in" with colleagues and clients.
I like to decorate myself.
  • Piercings are still not widely accepted by employers.
  • Tattoos are tolerated more but a boss may ask you to cover them.
  • Jewelry is easiest because you can take it off, if necessary.
Fitting in. American society puts a lot of stock in personal expression but the internship (just like the first job) may not be the best place to make a personal fashion statement. As an intern, you begin as a guest in a new environment. As you learn the culture of your site, you may be able to display your individual preferences for dress and appearance. To start, though, a better strategy is to "fit in" and appear more conventional.

Casual Friday. Even heading into a workplace that advertises a casual dress code on Fridays deserves a conservative attitude. Wait until you see the attire on the first Friday! Your idea of casual may be different from your site supersivor's. Maybe shorts are allowed, or maybe an open-toed sandal is the maximum casual allowed.

The content on this blog is not offered as legal advice or guidance. Consult your college, advisor, or internship supervisor for help with issues surrounding internships. © 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Dr. Bold is a co-author of the book Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. More about Dr. Bold can be learned at www.marybold.com

No comments: