10 Ways to make a positive first impression during your Canadian internship

July 15, 2014
Posted in Study & Work


We’re pretty sure you’ve heard the expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. So, it’s important that you do your best to create a positive impression when you are about to start your internship in Canada. Here are some tips for making a great first impression!

1. Dress properly. The initial impressions you make before you even talk is your style of dress and manners. Both say a great deal about who you are. Don´t overdress,  and try to keep jewelry and fragrance to a minimum. Dress comfortably, but accordingly with the situation. Even when you are starting as an intern, don’t forget you are in an office environment and from now on, you also represent the company you are doing your internship in Canada for.

2. Be there on time, even 15 minutes early. As we already mentioned, it’s your first day, and you want to start right. Whether you bike, bus or walk to your new internship in Vancouver, it’s smart to test the route before that important first day. Google Maps doesn’t have a “rush hour” button that will automatically double the time of your daily commute! It is even better if you can arrive like half an hour early, so you can have time to have a coffee or a tea near the office, and arrive at work calm and ready for your first big day. Arriving early at the building is always a good idea, but wait until the actual time you are supposed to start to enter the office space.

3. Be sure about what the company does. Show up with a clear understanding of what the company does. Thanks to the Internet, this will be really easy. There is no need to know exactly everything, but it is really important that at least you know the most important parts of the business. Read the company’s website and any recent articles about them in the media. Blog post 10 tips first impression

4. Make eye contact, smile and shake hands. During the initial introductions, it is important to make eye contact and shake hands with your new colleagues. But what if they don’t offer you their hand? The protocol in Canada is to extend yours anyway, as a sign of good will, so it is fine if you do it first; it will show security. Smile and mean it; be genuine with the attitude that you’re happy to be starting your internship in Canada, showing your colleagues how great a decision they made deciding to host you as an intern.

5. Take the initiative in introducing yourself. Your supervisor or boss may take you around to meet your new co-workers, but even if they do, they probably won’t introduce you to everyone. So take the initiative in meeting others yourself.

6. Say the other person’s name when you talk to them and meet them Saying a person’s name shows you’re engaged and paying attention. It also makes the other person feel special and can be a helpful trick to remembering names if you tend to forget them, even moreso if English is not your first language – so many names can be new for you.

7. Listen and take notes The first day is a whirlwind of introductions and meetings. Take notes; you’ll thank yourself later.  Show that you’re listening by making eye contact, smiling or nodding to show you’re engaged, and responding to what the other person is saying. Even if you have the best ideas in the world — even if the higher-ups brought you on board specifically to shake things up — keep them to yourself on the first day. Blog post 10 tips first impression 2

8. If you don’t know, ask. There’s no such thing as a dumb question on someone´s first day. No matter if you are an intern or an actual employee, there is always a first time. Don’t wait on your seat until someone comes to ask you if everything is ok. Remember that although is your first day at the company, there is no possibility of someone being with you the full 8 hours. You will need to have your space, try to get familiar with the information about the company, setting up your email account, etc… be proactive, don’t waste your time, and if you’re not sure what to do, ask.

9. Saying ‘Yes’ To Lunch Invites As the new face around the office, you’ll be invited by co-workers to lunch, coffee, happy hour, and other events outside of the office. Don’t turn them down, take them as a networking chance. This is also a great way to get to know your co-workers better, and make some new friends!

These tips should help to ensure that you always put your best foot forward and get the best out of your internship experience in Vancouver and in Canada!  What are your tips for facing your first day and first week at a new internship? Share with us in the comments!

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