Sign In

Your first day at a summer job or internship will be exciting and stressful at the same time. So many questions will run through your head as you contemplate your first day. What to wear? What to bring? Am I prepared? Can I handle the assignments?

Don’t worry! With proper preparation, you will be confident as you walk through the doors on your first day.

How to Prepare

You want to be well-rested for your first day on the job. Go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep. Don’t forget to set your alarm, and give yourself extra time for commuting just in case there is traffic.

The night before your first day, put together a folder or bag with certain items that Human Resources may require for your onboarding. This includes your driver’s license and/or passport, Social Security Card, and a voided check (This is a blank check. You write the word “VOID” across the check in all capital letters. This is used to set up your direct deposit for your paycheck.) You may also want to bring a pen and a notepad to take down information on any assignments or to take down the names of people that you meet so you can remember them later.

First Day

Be sure to take a shower either the night before or morning of your first day. Wear deodorant and brush your hair. Even if you don’t have a large budget for clothes, being clean and well-groomed will make a great first impression.

Bring a healthy lunch, snacks, and a water bottle to keep you going throughout the day. But be ready to be invited to lunch with your coworkers. This is a great opportunity to network and you can eat your bagged lunch for dinner that evening!

Bring your phone with you to work, but keep it on silent or vibrate so it does not interrupt your work day.

You will be meeting lots of people on your first day at work, so you should prepare an elevator pitch about yourself. Your elevator pitch is a 30-60 second introduction of who you are, where you are from and what you are hoping to gain from the job/internship. This should be something you practice ahead of time, but don’t memorize it or it will sound forced instead of natural. Be genuine.

What to Wear

When you’re the CEO of the company, you can wear whatever you want. However, knowing what to wear when you’re lower on the lattice can be difficult. Some companies are helpful and provide a uniform or dress code. Others leave it up to you to figure it out.

The first thing to do is ask yourself what kind of company you are working for. Is it more formal or casual? Is it fashionable or traditional? What were employees wearing when you went to your interview?

You want to be comfortable, but you also want to be appropriate to the situation. Pajama pants and a tank top won’t work unless you’re in a remote position with no video conference calls!

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your work clothes. There are many thrift stores and consignment shops (both online and brick and mortar) with lots of options if you’re willing to do a little digging.

What to Expect

Your first day could be spent onboarding with Human Resources. You could be watching training videos, filling out paperwork, and more. In these situations, it is very likely that you won’t be doing any work related to the job.

With some companies, however, you may get tossed into the mix and start an assignment within minutes of walking through the door.

Be flexible and ready to handle whatever is thrown at you.

How to Behave

If you want to make the most of your summer job or internship, you need to behave professionally the entire time. You will be observed by your colleagues and supervisors and this will impact whether or not you get a full time job offer or a good recommendation for a future job or internship.

Be friendly and open to new relationships. You are only as strong as your network, so you need to work on building it from an early age. The people you meet at your summer job or internship could hugely impact your trajectory on the lattice. If you need letters of recommendation for graduate school or a connection to your next job, you will need to tap your network.

Be proactive. Don’t sit around waiting for work to fall into your lap. Seek out the people you want to work with and for and ask them how you can help. An easy way to get yourself out there is to walk a circuit of the floor before you leave for the day and say goodbye to everyone – while also asking if there is anything more you can do to help. You’ll make a good impression and open yourself up for more interesting opportunities by putting yourself out there.

Enhance your professionalism with Lattice Climbers. Take our quiz now!