Climb the Ladder

How to Have a Great First Day as an Intern

The day has finally come – the first day of your new job/internship. You wake up in the morning, probably after not sleeping the night before, half because you are excited and half because you are nervous. You fix your hair and make sure all of your buttons line up. You head to the kitchen where you have a very important “first day breakfast” – you don’t know exactly when you’ll be able to eat during the day so be prepared going into it so you aren’t starving before you get a feel for things! Breakfast will also energize you and allow you to remain focused throughout the day. Listen to what you have been told for your whole life, even if it’s just for this one day, and eat something before walking out the door!

Be prepared

Leave enough time that you arrive to the office a few minutes early. Don’t go up before your expected time but to lessen your stress, plan on getting there early! Make sure you have your 30 second elevator pitch ready to go! Likely people will be asking you about yourself, where you have come from, where you see yourself going. Make sure you have a notepad ready to take notes while you listen and observe. Pay attention to your body language when you are being onboarded and be sure to show interest in what you are learning!

Don’t Doubt Yourself, Stay Positive!

Okay, now you have left the house and you are on your way to your first day. Whether you are taking the subway, are walking, biking, hover crafting, etc. I am sure you will be anticipating everything on your way. What if you are overdressed? Underdressed? What if the people on your team don’t like you? Will you know how to do what you are expected to do? Will you do it well? Will you find the office easily? Instead of letting the negative questions swarm your head, think about all of the positives here. They hired you because you are the perfect fit for this job. They have gotten to know you and want you to be yourself – the person that they were so excited to hire! Don’t let these negative thoughts get in the way of being your most fantastic self. Make sure you walk in the door poised, confident, calm, and ready to kill your first day. Be prepared to learn a lot in your first couple of days and give yourself some time to get adjusted. It is important to build relationships with the people you work with to get comfortable and acclimated to your new environment. Try not to isolate yourself and be friendly – don’t be shy!



My biggest, and personally most important, piece of advice for your first day is to smile. Smiling makes everything better. Even if you feel like you have just learned more information than your brain can retain and you just grin and bear it, you’ll gain the confidence you need to properly adapt. What I am saying is that flashing your pearly whites and chugging through the first day will train your brain to think that you can do this and you will be great at this. Smiling has a special power in helping to bond, building relationships, and getting comfortable. Ask questions and be receptive to the information you are learning.

Be Yourself!

All in all, for your first day/week, it is important to remember to just be yourself. Be the smart, confident, outstanding person that this company hired and show them that they made a great choice. Of course, the beginnings of things can be stressful but knowing that you are fit for the position and flashing a smile along the way makes all the difference. Don’t let negative thoughts take away the beauty of a new experience. Remain professional, ask questions, and be appreciative to those who have helped you through your onboarding and again, don’t forget to smile.

Next steps

After your first couple of days, there probably will be a few people or a specific person who has been a big part of your transition and onboarding. Be sure to express gratitude to this person for all of their help and ongoing support. No need to make a large gesture, but express your thankfulness however you feel is right!


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