As a recent college graduate with a job in my desired industry, I can tell you that internships can definitely make you or break you.
The first day at your new gig is important, and making a great first impression when meeting your bosses and managers is crucial.
Here are four tips to help you rock the first day of your summer internship:
1. Plan to arrive near your internship location at least an hour in advance
This doesn't mean you should actually arrive at work an hour early. Once you get near where you're going, you can grab an energizing breakfast, or give yourself a chance to catch your breath, and then get to work when it's time.
Public transportation can be unpredictable, and so can traffic. Giving yourself a buffer, especially on the first day of a new gig when you don't want anything to go wrong, will be helpful.
During my first week at CNBC, I met up with a friend for breakfast before work and we walked around the neighborhood. My job requires me to run errands outside of the office, so getting to know the area right away definitely helped me complete my tasks rapidly.
2. Have an elevator pitch prepared, because you never know who you'll meet
Before you start, try to get a sense of what departments interest you the most in your company. Prepare a few words to say about yourself in case you come across someone that could help you get your dream job.
Take note of important names at your company, since you never know who you'll happen to run into.
During past internships and while doing interviews, I ended up in the same elevator as Anderson Cooper and Shonda Rhimes. Since I had nothing prepared to say, I couldn't take advantage of the opportunity.
3. Try your best to remember everyone's name the first day
This was a tip I received from multiple mentors. Learn people's names and learn how to pronounce them correctly.
People really do the appreciate the effort. At my internships, I received praise for taking the time to learn the names of my peers.
4. Get up to speed fast
An internship isn't only a learning experience; you're also there to help your team. Taking too long to learn the system or catch up will make everyone else's jobs more difficult.
Speak to people who've had similar roles before you start and invest in self-teaching programs, like Lynda, to get ahead.
Taking this extra time will make sure your internship goes smoothly — and it can lead to a full-time job if your team knows you're taking initiative.