Interning, the Beginning.

The first day of an internship can be both exciting and quite nerve provoking. If read my last blog post, “Closing Night, Interning at a Theater“, then you are aware that I recently ended an internship and have begun the transition into my next internship. Before I have begun each my internships, I have followed a mental checklist. In order to prepare for the first day of your next internship, here are a few suggestions:

1. Become familiar with the company. Understand the chain of command in which you will be working and specifically who you will be reporting to. Also, explore and become familiar with your company or organizations website. The look and feel of a company’s website says a lot about who they are and the atmosphere of the company. Finally, set up a Google Alert using the company’s name as the keyword. Anytime new stories, breaking news, or articles come out about the company, Google will automatically send them to you in an email.

2. Rehearse your commute. Arriving late on your first day sets a negative tone and gives a bad first impression. Whether you are walking, biking, driving or utilizing public transportation, be sure to look up directions that are easy to follow and understand and times of trains and buses if you are utilizing public transportation. If you are taking public transportation, practice walking from your stop to your office and time yourself. Also, consider wearing the shoes you intend on wearing your first day during your practice run of your commute. While those cute new pumps might go nicely with your first day outfit, realizing you have to walk fifteen blocks both ways might make them less appealing.

3. Prepare your outfit ahead of time. Make sure you understand your dress code and follow it. If you are unsure, feel free to email your supervisor before your first day. In general though, it is always best to dress more conservatively on your first couple of days until you can get a feel for what is deemed appropriate in your specific work environment. Once you have selected an appropriate outfit, make sure it is free of any wrinkles and stains. Also, note if your outfit is dry clean only and leave an appropriate amount of time to take it to the dry cleaners if deemed necessary. Finally, less is more when it comes to accessories. Whatever you have on, take one thing off. Let your personality shine through and not your bling.

4. Be prepared to do paperwork. Contact your human resource department or supervisor and inquire as to what kind of documentation you will be required to submit. In general, you usually will need your social security card, two forms of identification, your checking account and routing number if you will be compensated and any additional paperwork you are required to fill-out for your university or college if applicable.

5. Finally, come prepared with questions and reach out. Draft up questions prior to your first day which can help you fill-in the gaps to answers you could not conclude from perusing the company website or supplemental materials. Contact your supervisor prior to your first day and ask if there was a previous intern. If so, see if you can get into contact with them and use them as a resource. Finally, draft an introduction email and either send it out prior to your start date or on your first day introducing yourself and offering your assistance to anyone in your department or to anyone in the company who may need it. Although the gesture may be small, it will set you apart and may even open up opportunities for you later.

So when starting your next internship, consider following these easy steps and set yourself up for a successful internship experience from start to finish.

Have you ever prepared for an internship in advance? If so, what preparations did you make?

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