You’ve bagged that all-important internship and are raring to go. The nerves are slowly setting in and all the scenarios in how things might go wrong are coming into your mind. Here’s how you can make your big first day run smoothly, before you even set foot in the office.
Work out who you are reporting to and what position he or she plays within the company. If you can find him or her on LinkedIn, or if there’s anything online regarding them, read up on it! You’ll sound knowledgable, you’ll have a better understanding of who you are working with and you may have some conversation starters. However large or small the company is do a bit of Googling and immerse yourself in their website. It's important to understand their ethos and goals - found in the “about us” and “mission and vision” pages - what roles there within the company, who the company's clients and market are, how the organisation is structured and where the directors fit in.
Gather any documents you might need on the first day of your internship, for example your passport, national insurance card, driver’s license and certificates of your degree if you have finished university.
A commute is always a nerve-wracking experience on your first day, and you’ll spend most of it looking at your watch making sure you’re not late. Being late will definitely make a bad first impression, so one idea is to practise your commute in advance. If you are coming in on public transport, work out which route would be the quickest, and if you are up for it, you could even try commuting at the same time (rush hour) and with your heels on to see how you would cope. Walk right to the office door to see how takes you exactly so that on your first day you’ll be far less nervous. Make sure you’ve allocated enough time so that you are 10 minutes early for your first day. If you are far too early on the day you can always grab a coffee.
Every organisation will have its own dress code, and your interview hopefully gave you the opportunity to see how current employees were suited and booted. Make sure that you’ve enough suitable clothes in your wardrobe - lay them out on your bed to see what you can mix and match together - and if you don’t have enough badger your parents to lend you some money so that you treat yourself to a shopping spree. Wearing the right clothes makes a big impression, and if you’re not sure you can always email your contact and confirm what you need to wear. If in doubt, wear something slightly smarter than you feel necessary.
Take a note of the news
One way to ensure that your co-workers trust you is to keep up to date with current affairs. You don’t need to spend hours poring over the papers, but a quick perusal to know who’s in power and what’s happening in the world at the moment is important. If you’ve got some latest gossip to hand you’ll also be able to weather that lull in conversation. You might also want to have a look at industry-specific news before and during your internship so you continue to sound like you are well-informed!
Pack your bag
Its a good idea to pack you bag the night before so you’ve less to worry about in the morning. This may include your wallet, travel card and phone and other items such as a phone charger, tissues, sunglasses, deodorant, hand sanitiser or medication. You might also want to see what the weather is going to be like so that you can take out appropriate clothes and remember an umbrella.
Social media spring clean
Make sure that your social media is up to date and take out all those embarrassing photos your friends have tagged you in. Remove any posts you might have written about your upcoming internship if they are negative - promote positivity instead!
Now is a good time to create a LinkedIn profile if you don’t already have one. Document your previous jobs and volunteering experience, along with your education and any specific roles your might have had at university or college. If you did an apprenticeship or degree you might like to highlight certain aspects that you are particularly interested in.
Write things down
There’s nothing wrong with not knowing everything that’s going on the first few days and not remembering everything that you've been told. However an easy way to job your memory is to bring a notebook so you can jot anything down you think might be useful or important. You can then use your notes to jog your memory if you get stuck.
It’s all about Microsoft
Even if you’ve been knee deep in Apple for years and you told yourself you’d never go back, unfortunately most offices work with Microsoft Office (MO). With a few brilliant online courses from Microsoft you can get yourself up-to-date with your Word and Excel skills so you won’t be asking your boss every single hour how to do pivot tables. You might also want to learn a few MO shortcuts so you don’t waste all your time showing that you are a highly efficient and motivated employee. If you are currently a Mac user, you might also want to familiarise yourself with how a PC works by borrowing a friend's for an afternoon.