While my particular internship doesn’t actually start for another two weeks, it’s getting to be the time that most people start their summer positions. As you’re gearing up for the big first day, picking out that perfect business professional outfit and making sure all of your paperwork is in order, I’m blogging about some of the best ways to positively kill it on your first day. While first impressions aren’t everything, they can play a huge role in the way that the rest of your internship plays out. Make sure it goes as well as it can!
1. Dress the part (and then some)
If you know your office dress code, dress for it.However, for the first day, go just a tiny bit more professional than what your dress code requires. If you don’t, a) Google is your friend, and b) it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Terms like “business casual” can be so ambiguous that you’re not always sure what they mean, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Once you’ve been in your office for a few days, you’ll have a better sense of what the office dress code really means and what is and isn’t okay to wear.
2. Be on time
I genuinely cannot stress the importance of this enough. As someone who’s worked as a manager for a company, one of my biggest pet peeves was when employees would show up late – especially to their first shift! Getting there on time shows that you take the position seriously, so if you’re one of those people who struggles with getting places on time, convince yourself that your actual start time is 15 minutes before it really is. And if you’re someone who’s always early (like me), just resign yourself to the fact that your desire to be even earlier due to first-day jitters will result in you walking the block around your office building for like 45 minutes.
3. Take your work seriously
Sometimes intern tasks are tedious (I’ve entered data for an entire 9-5 workday). Sometimes they’re a little ridiculous (I’ve gotten someone’s coffee out of their car for them). Regardless of what it is, do your work and do it well. If you’re the type of person that your boss and others in the office know that they can count on, it’ll put you in a good position for the rest of the summer.
4. Don’t be content just sitting there
Always be the person asking “what can I do next?” Don’t just sit at your desk waiting for someone to assign you a new task. If your direct boss doesn’t have anything for you to do, ask if it’s alright to ask others in the office. Go around your entire department asking if anyone needs any work done. Even if they don’t, you’ve likely just put yourself in all of their good graces and when they do need a task done, they’ll probably start coming to you.
5. BE POSITIVE!
As someone who’s constantly being reminded that my resting face is on (how do I phrase this politely?) the angry/annoyed side, looking positive is something I have to actively work on. Don’t scowl at your desk, make an effort to smile at people as they walk by, and make small talk with some of the other employees/interns during your breaks. Positivity makes an office culture better, and it’ll more than likely put you in a better mood too (pretending to be happy, even when you’re not, actually can be a mood-booster). People like positive people better.
If you’re starting your summer internship soon, good luck! I hope it’s everything you wanted it to be and you learn a ton. 🙂