An Intern’s Guide: What to Do on Your First Day

You’ve done the interview, you’ve had a call from the boss and congratulations – you’ve got the job! Exciting times lay ahead, but now you have to make it through the first day. Though some of the staff may have met you in the interview process, this is really the time to make a great 1st impression and set the tone for the rest of your placement.

Show up 15 minutes Early

Punctuality is absolutely essential on your 1st day of work. Take into account delays on your route and make sure you give yourself plenty of time. You don’t want to be bursting through the door, covered in sweat, realising that you left your wallet on the bus! Aim to get to work 15 minutes before you start. It shows you’re excited to be there and dedicated to the role. There is nothing that makes a worse first impression, is if you’re not there to impress anyone at all.

Find out the office dress code

More workplaces are embracing a relaxed dress code with the explosion of Startup office culture over the past few years. In saying that, you don’t want to make the mistake of wearing jeans when the rest of the office actually suits up. The interview is a good time to gauge what the rest of the office dresses like. And fortunately, with websites like Glassdoor.com – it’s a lot easier to “see inside” a company’s office and suss out what you should or should not wear. And if all else fails – just ask! Everyone has had a first day before; the question is perfectly justified.

Learn Co-Workers’ Names Quickly

Some are blessed with the gift of name recollection, others are truly not. I am one of them, and for the foreseeable future it will be something that I will battle with. But here are some handy tips to remember the names of your coworkers from the get-go:

    1. The reason you probably don’t remember their name is because you weren’t actually paying attention – so when someone is introduced to you make sure you listen. It seems obvious but it’s most definitely the truth.
    2. Repeat the name back to them – this helps your brain make the connection to a specific face. Say something (as naturally as possible!) like “It’s nice to meet you, John,” or “I look forward to working with you, Sue.”
    3. This ones a little more elementary, but in my opinion works the best. Try associating the name with something memorable. Use alliteration (eg. Carrie likes cookies) or visualisation (imagine Martina drinking a martini!)

Remembering your coworkers names will leave a great first impression, and establish a positive connection with your co-workers from day one.

Put your mobile on silent 

Just don’t have it out at all on your first day. There is really no reason whatsoever. It looks terrible for you to take out your iPhone in a meeting and SnapChat your friends “1ST DAY RLLY GD SO FAR.” As great as the in house barista does latte art, it doesn’t need to be instagrammed either. Down the line it might be appropriate to promote office culture through social media, but for now make sure your attention is focused on the people around you and the tasks in front of you. Turn your phone off ringing or vibrate and pretend it doesn’t exist for a day!

Listen & ask questions

As a new hire, there are a lot of things you won’t know. Keep a sharp ear throughout the day – you’re not going to be able to remember everything, but try and make a mental note of as much as you can. Jot important things down. Another great thing to do is write down questions that come to mind, and wait until you collate a few before answering.  This means that you won’t fumble through trying to recall a question you had earlier in the day. It also stops you from asking a question that may be answered later on.

Learn quickly and show initiative

This is easier said than done, but try to stay focused throughout the day, and learn as much as possible. The less of a burden you bare on your boss, the better. So if you learn something, and you’re confident you don’t need to be guided to do so, ask if you can go it alone. Even if you make a few fumbles along the way, your boss will be impressed in your taking initiative.

Avoid office politics and gossip

Human beings, no matter how great they are – in any environment – will talk. About the things they like; the things they don’t like; things they wish they could change; the management; the company; each other… If you hear any of this talk, we hope you have the intuition to avoid it at al costs. Especially when you just start at a new job. If you find it hard not to participate, find an excuse to leave the room. If you get dragged into something remain impartial and politely refuse to answer. It is a very negative way to enter the workplace complaining and critiquing.

Be yourself

Its important – above all of this – to be yourself! Listen and work hard to prove yourself. But smile, enjoy yourself. You’re about to learn a lot, be mentored by some seasoned professionals, and develop your own professional skills. Hopefully, a contribution to why they hired you was because they like you as a person, so don’t be afraid of being yourself!

Congrats on the new job!

The IA Team


To read more on how to ace day one of your internship, check out this post here.

Still in the interview process? Here’s our insider’s guide to interviewing to make sure you say all the right things! 

Haven’t got yourself your dream PAID internship or graduate job yet? Let us help you on InternAvenue.com.

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