Tuesday, June 21, 2011

3 Ways To Kick Ass On Your First Day

Hey there, fellow Edsters!

Summer’s just beginning, and I’m a week away from the start of my big internship in New York. It’s an exciting leap forward after interning at magazines and newspapers in the D.C. area because I’ll be working at one of the country’s biggest magazines and away from home.

A quick introduction: I’m a journalism major from Maryland. The story of how I’ve snagged each of my internships is a very different tale, but the one common thread between them is my persistence and patient. I entered each of my internships a little nervous and clueless. I’ve exited each more confident and ready to tackle what’s next.

And a great deal of that confidence is built — believe it or not! — in the first couple weeks when I’m getting oriented to the office. Imagine: you’re on your first day, and your editor is going over your jobs with you. He’s showing you the office, introducing you to so many faces all while going over where to file this, what copier to use, what password to use here, where NOT to put that paper, etc.

It’s overwhelming, definitely, but you know in a few weeks’ time those tasks will be second nature. So how do you get to that point without letting your nerves get the best of you? A few tips I’ve learned (and plan to use this year!):

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. At this point, we’re all trying to impress our editor, but those first few weeks are the best time to ask questions, even if the questions seem silly. Editors are always so happy to help you and understand that you’re not going to know everything your first few days. So before you hesitant to speak up about something you don’t get, keep in mind that by letting them help you, you can better help them!

Stay positive! When you’re learning your way around the office, it’s OK to feel a little nervous, but don’t let your temporary lack of knowledge lead to a lack of confidence and smiles. Pretend you’ve got whatever task thrown at you even if you’re not so certain inside — you’ll find you’ll be fine most of the time (and for the times you aren’t? Your editor is happy to help lead you in the right direction)! Stay optimistic and patient. Everyone goes through this learning period when they start a new position, and everyone moves past it too.

Take notes and absorb as much as you can. When your editor is going through instructions, take notes. Watch the newsroom, and stay alert. You’ll quickly pick up where things are and how things work, but it’s important that now especially you’re at your most attentive. Know your classroom, and you’ll quickly become the star intern your editor has been looking for.

So what tips do you have for the first few days, Edsters? How did you approach your first day? And what’s the best advice you’ve been given for getting oriented to a job?

Till Next Tuesday,
Women's Mag Intern

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