The most important part of any internship is the start, and that’s because first impressions are important since they set the tone for how ambitious you’ll be and shows that you’re excited to begin. From the way, you put yourself together to your knowledge of the company, here is everything you need to navigate your internship and create the best first impression yet.
1. Dress Your Best
There is nothing more important than looking your best on day 1, which includes everything from actually brushing your hair to putting together a professional look. Depending on your company’s dress code, you may be allowed to wear jeans but if you aren’t aware of the dress code before your first day just remember: it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
2. Maintain A Notebook
It is extremely important to have a notebook as you will attend meetings, pick up on office lingo, and have to write down notes as you go along. It is more professional to have a notebook out to jot your thoughts in than typing into your phone on the first day. You will come across as more prepared and attentive with a notebook in your hand, and it will be necessary to write down questions to ask later.
3. Be Early, Leave With Your Boss
If you’re familiar with the phrase “on time is late and early is on time” then you may know that it is always more respectable to be about ten minutes early for the start of your internship and maintain this timing throughout your program. It shows that you are responsible, respect the company, and are eager to be there. It is also wise to leave at the same time as your boss, especially during the beginning. If you are leaving before your boss how can you help them with anything they may need?
4. Ask Questions
You won’t know everything when you start your internship, and that’s okay. It’s important to keep a note of things throughout the beginning that confuse you or that you’d like to know more about and ask your supervisor. It is also important, however, that you ask your questions at an appropriate time (i.e. at the beginning or end of the day).
5. Speak Up
In addition to asking questions, it’s also key to add your opinion where it’s appropriate. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You are getting an education and working at this company as a career step, and if you don’t participate then you will neither showcase your skills or learn more.
6. Solicit Feedback
Around the middle of your internship, it is crucial to schedule a time with your supervisor to chat about your time with the company thus far. In this case, you can learn about your strengths and weaknesses, where you can improve, and discuss your interest in working there full-time if it suits you. If you ask for feedback at the end, then it is too late as you have no time to improve or change things.
7. Be Proactive
Sometimes your day may come to a lull, or it may even seem like it started and you have nothing to work on. In this situation, it is far better to seek work than wait for it to come to you. Ask your team first thing in the morning who needs help with a project and get the ball rolling on your own.
8. Introduce Yourself
If you want this opportunity to turn into a full-time job offer, then make sure everyone knows your name. Be friendly and eager to learn, work, and contribute to the brand or company. Speak up when necessary and show that you really want to be there. Often times the quiet interns go unnoticed, be the intern who made it a point to introduce themselves, learn something, and be remembered.
9. Make a Friend
Whether you are a part of a larger internship program or not, it is also important to make a work friend who you can take lunch with, learn from, and make your internship that much more memorable. The first question a supervisor once asked me was, “did you make any friends in the program?” This not only shows your sociability but also it shows your willingness to become a part of the work community.
10. Be Appreciative
No matter what you are asked to do, do it and do it with an eagerness to have the opportunity. Even if that opportunity comes off as “tedious” it is something that needs to be done and will make a huge difference to your team. Often times it is the little and consistent tasks that interns do which help the company the most, and if you accept each opportunity with a smile and chance to do your best, it will not go unnoticed.