Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Make a Great First Impression on the Job

Now that you’ve landed an exciting internship, externship, or volunteer opportunity for the summer, it’s important that you lead with your best foot.

Before you even arrive for your first day, make sure you brush up on the firm or organization. You did plenty of research before your interviews with the employer so revisit that mindset and make sure you’ve learned what you could about your workplace.

Arrive on time, which really means, arrive ten minutes early. To ensure this, make sure you map out your driving or bus route and scout out parking or calculate bus stop walk times. Be generous when allowing time for your commute. Give yourself extra travel time that first day and then find a restaurant or coffee shop nearby where you can sit or relax for a moment if you arrive more than ten minutes ahead of your start time.

If you’re not sure what to wear, always remember that given the choice between under or overdressing, overdressing wins. Though your colleagues may not wear suits every day, you need to wear a suit on your first day of work. Be quite conservative in your dress that whole first week. As time goes on, if you notice that others in your office wear separates or dress more casually on days when they’re not in court, for example, it’s appropriate to follow their lead, BUT as the new employee, you should dress more conservatively than the norm. You want your work, rather than your outfit, to gain notice.

Listen actively. Since you won’t yet know where office supplies are found in your new work space, bring a notepad and pen with you so that you can jot down instructions. It’s a good idea to ask questions, but you don’t want to ask the same question twice, so listen carefully and take notes.

Bring a friend named Charlie Hustle to work with you. Everyone loves a hard worker; volunteer for projects, help out others without being asked, and never hesitate to take on extra work. Even though summer is a time when you recharge from school, it’s important that personal plans not interfere with your commitment at work. If you’re asked to go above and beyond – go. Better yet, don’t wait to be asked.

Be yourself. Your summer job is a great opportunity to get to know attorneys well and begin building your network. Never miss out on an opportunity to get to know someone you work alongside; your supervisors and co-workers may one day be your greatest advocates.

Have fun! And reach out to us, whether you need to talk about stresses or successes, we’d love to hear from you throughout the summer.