The Workplace

Tips for the first day

By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach

You’re probably a bit nervous about your internship even if your internship supervisor has sent you information to prepare you for the first day.  Don’t worry, it happens to everybody!  If anything, remember these four basic tips to get you through those first-day jitters.

  • How to dress:  Dress conservatively and formally for the first day. Select clothing in neutral colors and traditional design. Choose styles that will cover up any tattoos; remove obvious body jewelry or piercings. A good rule of thumb is not to go to extremes in terms of clothing, jewelry, or scents. A conservative hairstyle is preferred.
  • For women:  Women should make sure that skirts aren’t too short, slacks aren’t too tight, and necklines aren’t too low. A stylish white shirt is always a safe choice. Wear light make-up and no more than one ring per hand. This may be a good time to treat yourself to a manicure. Stay with small earrings and a matching necklace.
  • For men:  Men should wear a preferably white shirt with a conservative tie. If you wear a sport coat, go for a solid navy or one with a subtle pattern. Keep your dress shoes in meticulous condition. Your socks should match slacks and shoes. Leave your baseball cap and sneakers at home along with your pinky rings, necklaces, or bracelets.
  • What to bring:  You might want to take a briefcase/computer case with you to carry items.  Be prepared to meet with your supervisor to discuss company expectations, goals, and performance assessment. Also, bring a notepad to jot down the names of people you meet, ensuring that you can address them correctly the next day.
  • How to act: Take your lead from your internship supervisor. He/she will give you your assignments and your daily schedule.  Ask questions if you don’t understand your duties and ask for help if any of the technology baffles you. Avoid long chats with employees and stay on safe subjects, such as the weather or sports. Unsafe subjects are money, religion, and politics.  And don’t make any social calls on your cell phone, or text while you’re working!
  • Who to meet: Your internship supervisor will introduce you to the people with whom you’ll be working. Do address each person by his/her surname or last name, such as Mr. Jones or Miss Smith, unless that person tells you to use his/her first name. And always address superiors by their last names, such as Mr. or Mrs. Doe even if they tell you to call them by their first names. If possible, meet any other interns to build a support system.