5 tips for a successful first day on a new internship
- 18th July 2018
- Posted by: Internship in Brighton
- Category: Internship Tips
On the first day of any job – whether it is your very first internship or just a new position in the same company where you have been working for 30 years – nerves always kick in sooner or later. But remember: you will be learning and experiencing lots of new things, and you will have to communicate in a professional way that it’s just your first day, so you are not used to this job quite yet!
Each internship is different. Some companies will go out of their way to make the onboarding process positive, exciting and useful, while other businesses might leave you to your own devices. Whatever the situation, the first day is where your new colleagues will see and speak with you for the first time, developing an initial impression of you that will follow you in this job role.
Here are five tips to make sure you don’t start off on the wrong foot. Hopefully they will relieve some of those first day fears, as well as answer the question: how can I make a good first impression at work?
Just like your job interview, the impression you give and the impact you make on your first day can depend very much on how much preparation you have done. So do some homework! Make sure you have taken time to understand the job responsibilities (as far as you have been told), research the business again, and potentially understand as much as you can about the company culture. Research will help you start smoothly on your first day at work, but remember you will be on a probationary period, in which you are observed carefully to ensure you are meeting the standards required. Make sure you are up for the challenge!
Find out if you need to bring in any documents, such as your passport, P45 and national insurance details. It is also handy to bring a folder to keep paper you are given, which might involve a contract. Finally, make sure you get a good night is sleep – it will keep you awake and focused for what you need to do on your first day.
Be punctual and presentable
If you have already came in for an interview, you might have an idea of what people wear to the office. But when in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your clothes. Once you spend a few days at a new job, you will better understand what kind of clothes people wear, but it won’t hurt to give the impression you have made an effort. Often on the first day, you are asked to arrive a little later to give your team time to prepare. But whatever the situation, it is wise to leave around half an hour earlier than you would to get to work on time. This is so you can spend a bit of time adjusting to the area, and maybe even have a coffee before you come to the office fresh and ready for action.
Be organised and proactive
It is unlikely that you will be assigned to projects immediately (although that is not to say it isn’t a possibility!). If you do have some time to spare, spend it getting adjusted, organised and understanding your place of work: coffee machines, toilets, fire exits etc.
Work-wise, this is a fresh start. So take the time understand where you should improve and where you have been weak on in the past. Take lots of notes about how things in the office work so you don’t need to ask again so often. You might also have time to organise and prioritise any work responsibilities that are made clear to you.
Be proactive and build drive if you can. This means asking questions, putting yourself forward for tasks and responsibilities, and getting your feet wet without finding yourself overwhelmed. Becoming a self-starter is a fantastic way to make a good first impression – people will appreciate your help and your efforts. If you can show leadership or initiative on your first day, it is a huge positive and a marker for the future.
Your manager or a colleague may show you around and introduce you to your team, but that doesn’t always happen. Either way, it is best to be proactive, and make a special effort to introduce yourself to as many people as you feel comfortable with, with a focus on remembering as many names as you can. Take a bit of time to write an introductory email. Even if you are not asked, it is still worth doing so people know who the new person is!
Understand the culture
Walk around and get yourself familiar with the people you will be spending most of your days with. For many companies, cultural fit is hugely important. Your own long-term success, as well as the company, depends on how well the team works together. This means you need to be part of that as soon as possible. If you feel comfortable enough on day one to make a joke or have fun, that is a very good sign. There is also the possibility that you will be asked out to socialise in a pub or other venue. Make sure you go – it is a good situation to see people out of work mode and to show your true personality. Obviously be careful about alcohol and getting too drunk though: you are not in the right position and not familiar enough with your colleagues yet to be comfortable in that kind of situation. Save it for the Christmas party!