An Intern’s First-Day Survival Guide

You painstakingly revised your resume. You exhausted your network in search of available positions. You managed to conquer your nerves and ace the big interview. Congratulations — you landed a public relations internship!

An internship can set the precedent for your entire career. You will meet valuable new members of your professional network and enhance your skill set. You will also develop the work ethic, office interaction style and attitudes that you will carry into every job you pursue in the future.

So how can you shake the “first day jitters” and get off to the best start possible as an intern at your new company or organization?

Dress the Part

When in doubt, err on the conservative side. This shows your supervisor and peers that you can be trusted to represent the company in a professional way. It also gives you a confidence boost and helps you envision yourself succeeding in your new position. And keep it simple; today is not the day to attempt a bold fashion statement.

Show Up Ready to Work

Your first day may consist of tours and seminars, but don’t assume this will be the case! Show up ready to work from day one. If you have time to kill and no projects to work on, speak up. Ask your supervisor or other colleagues if you can lend them a helping hand. This is your first opportunity to get to know your co-workers, prove your work ethic and become familiar with your new office and the duties that come with it. If all else fails, read up on your company, its clients and any training materials you received.

Stay Positive

If your new co-workers ask you questions about your former workplaces or try to educate you on the office politics of your new company, be very careful. As an intern, you are being watched and gauged as a potential employee. Keep it professional, polite and upbeat.

Breathe Easy

In the words of English dancer Margot Fonteyn, “Take your work seriously, but never yourself.” Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Be yourself. You have tons of opportunity in front of you; relax and have fun!

Good luck, and go get ‘em! What helped you shake the “first day jitters” at an internship? What advice would you give to those beginning their first internship?

Keri Cook is Director of Communications for Liberty University’s PRSSA Chapter. She is currently interning at Partnership of Packer, Oesterling and Smith (PPO&S), an award-winning integrated marketing communications firm.

1 thought on “An Intern’s First-Day Survival Guide

    • Author gravatar

      This is really a great reminder post for students. I cannot express how important it is to just show up early, looking professional and be ready to work doing whatever you need to do. Basic ideas, but critical to future success in the media industry. Making good impressions during internships will benefit you for the rest of your professional life. Thanks for the great post!

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