Making a Good First Impression as an Intern

Fri, Jan 21, 2011

Internship Information

So, you’ve landed your first internship. Congrats! Your resume made it out of the pile and you passed the interview with flying colors. Think the hardest part is over? It’s not.  Making a good first impression will be one of the most important things you do as an intern. Here are some tips to make sure you’re memorable.

Dress for Success

In college, you may roll out of your dorm and wear pajama pants and a hoodie to class.  But an internship is in the real world.  Before you start, ask your supervisor about the dress code. When in doubt, err on the side of professional. Who makes a better impression, the intern in jeans and a tee-shirt or the intern in khakis and a polo?  Of course, certain industries, like finance, are more buttoned-up and certain industries, like advertising, are more casual, so take your wardrobe cues from your boss. It’s like they say, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Be on Time

Not just the first day, but every day. Be realistic about how long it’ll take you to get ready in the morning and set your alarm (or alarms) accordingly. Plan out how you will get to your internship ahead of time. You might be adept at getting to class lickity-split, but chances are your internship will involve a longer commute. If you’ll take public transportation make sure you have updated schedules and money for fares. If you’ll drive, be aware of construction and traffic patterns that could cause delays.  It’s a good idea to do a practice commute before the first day.

Be Cheerful

A good attitude is the most important thing you can bring to your internship. Yes, you may have some unglamorous tasks, like filing, sorting mail, and even getting lunch.  Whatever you do, do it with a smile. Everyone has to start somewhere. You’ll have to prove yourself with the small things before your boss can trust you with more responsibility.

It only takes 10 seconds to make a first impression, so make sure it counts.  Make every day at your internship a positive one.

By Danielle Bullen. Danielle is a writer and a resident of the Philadelphia area. Danielle can be reached at Daniellebullen@comcast.net.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Melissa Breau Says:

    I’d add that if you want to get the most out of your internship, volunteer for added responsibilities. Most supervisors who hire interns are overworked and are happy–once you’ve proven that you’re trust worthy and do good work–to share the load. These things not only make for a better internship experience with more interesting work, they make you more valuable to your boss (making them happy to give you a top noche recommendation) and they give you better things to highlight on your resume.

  2. Jennifer Says:


    Thank you for visiting our site and for your valuable input! That is an excellent idea. Supervisors really appreciate when interns go out of their way to take on more work and doing so should lead to a more valuable learning experience for interns.

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