Let’s face it, the first day of a new internship is a blur and the next few days you can feel awfully useless — you don’t know where anything is or how to handle certain problems. With time though, you’ll pick these things up and your work will shine.
Here are 7 key things to remember that will make your employer think highly of you right from day one:
- Always be prompt. Arriving on time, maybe even slightly early, is always a huge plus. If you are late to your first day of work, you are sending the message that this is not an important opportunity for you and that you may just be wasting your employer’s time. Always show up on time, but also be prepared and ready to do your job.
- Demonstrate early on that you are willing to go the extra mile. So it’s 5 p.m. at the office on a Thursday afternoon; there is a big event coming up on Saturday, and there’s still so much to do. Offer to put in some extra hours to make sure the event goes off smoothly. Although it may not be your favorite, this really shows that you are not only taking your position seriously, but that you are genuinely concerned about the reputation of the company – something a company will look for in a future employee.
- Ask questions. After all, internships are about learning. Don’t be too shy to ask your boss about different aspects of what they do during the day, or why they do things a certain way. If we’ve all learned something, it’s that people love to talk about themselves and what they do – especially if you are interested in the same. Asking questions and getting personal feedback is also an important way to make sure that you and your boss are on the same page about your performance.
- Dress to impress. Always be sure to dress according to office culture. Scope out the feel of the office, or even ask if you want to be sure. They may be okay with you dressing casually, or they may want you to look like you are working at a New York law firm. Either way, always be presentable and well put together.
- Be assertive. Anyone who has interned can probably attest that there are times when the work is not rolling in and you find yourself counting ceiling tiles. This is where you should be a self-starter, especially your first week on the job. Don’t just do what you are asked to do. If you see a voicemail that has not been returned, or even that your office is highly disorganized, take it upon yourself to do the task. Your employer will appreciate your ability to seek out a problem and fix it without having them micromanage your time.
- Socialize and build relationships. Yes, you are there to do your job; but you are also there to network. Feel free to become friendly with coworkers and your boss.
Internships are a time to build relationships with those around you. Working hard is key, but also don’t be afraid to have fun if you love what you’re doing!