How to Ace the First Day of Your Internship

Are you feeling nervous as the first day of your big internship approaches? Don’t worry, we understand. The good news is that your new bosses and co-workers have likely been in your shoes before and they want you to succeed. After all, your success benefits the company, making it a win-win situation.

To help you feel more prepared and confident for your first day, we have compiled a helpful checklist. So take a deep breath, shake off the nerves, and get ready to crush your internship experience.

Show up prepared

Remember, your internship starts the moment you’re hired, not on your first day at work. While you may have already gained some knowledge about the company during the interview process, it’s important to continue researching before your first day. Monitor the company’s social media accounts, set up Google news alerts, and familiarize yourself with their products and services.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to reach out to the internship coordinator to confirm any details about the dress code, your start time, and to address any logistical concerns you may have, such as parking arrangements or who to contact upon arrival.

Keep your eyes and ears open

Every company, employee, and day has its own unique rhythm and workflow designed for maximum efficiency. Understand that as an intern, you may disrupt this rhythm initially, and that’s perfectly fine. What’s important is to remain aware of what’s going on around you.

Pay attention to who is doing what, when tasks are being completed, and how things are being done. This knowledge will help you eventually integrate seamlessly into the operation. It may take a few days to fully grasp everything, but you’ll get there with time.

Pay attention

While your intern coordinator and mentors will guide you through the training process, keep in mind that they may not always have an abundance of time to chat. As an intern, you are brought on board because the workload is too much for the existing staff to handle alone.

During training, pay close attention and take notes for future reference. If you have any follow-up questions about a particular task, don’t hesitate to ask. By being attentive and proactive, you will save both yourself and your boss valuable time. They will appreciate your commitment and attentiveness.

Introduce yourself

Don’t be shy! It’s important to make a positive impression on your summer co-workers. Avoid being an intern who hides in the corner, doesn’t contribute, or speak up. Instead, take the initiative to introduce yourself whenever the opportunity arises.

Confidently share your name, the department you are interning for, and politely inquire about their role in the company. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate professionalism and begin building valuable connections.

Be helpful, not prescriptive

While it’s natural to want to showcase your knowledge and skills to gain your manager’s trust and potentially secure a full-time job in the future, it’s essential to remember that your colleagues have years and even decades of experience in their field. They may not appreciate an intern trying to tell them how things should be done.

Recognize the difference between suggesting, “You should do…” and inquiring, “What do you think about…”. Don’t hesitate to contribute ideas and speak up when there’s an opportunity, but always do so respectfully.

If you possess a special skill or expertise, such as fluency in a foreign language or proficiency with a specific software program, make sure to communicate this to your boss. They may find it valuable and it could enhance your contributions to the team.

Ask thoughtful questions

Gone are the days of simply showing up, staying quiet, and keeping up. While you don’t want to bombard your boss and co-workers with countless trivial questions, they will appreciate your genuine interest and willingness to learn. Feel free to seek insights into the internship program, the company, or the industry itself.

To guide you, here are some thoughtful questions you can ask on your first day:

  • What are your expectations of me during the course of this internship?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • Who should I reach out to if I have a question about a specific topic?
  • How can I contribute during quieter moments?
  • I would love to learn how to do ___. Is there an opportunity for me to gain experience in that area this summer?

Asking these questions will not only help you stay organized throughout your internship, but also show your boss that you are serious about your role and eager to learn.


The first day of an internship can be daunting, but remember that you were chosen for a reason. As long as you approach the experience with dedication and a desire to learn, you will meet the expectations of your employer while achieving your own goals for the summer.

And who knows, if you play your cards right, you might even receive an invitation to return once you graduate. So give it your all, make a lasting impression, and make the most of this invaluable opportunity that will set you on the path to a successful future.

Share the knowledge