Often times, interns find their internship more challenging than they expected. This is especially true if it is the intern’s first time in corporate America. Wearing flip flops and sweatpants won’t cause you to lose points on your final, but the same casual attitude will lose you points at your internship.
One of the biggest challenges interns face is not knowing what is expected of them. As a result, they often make very noticeable blunders.
Here is a list of the most common internship blunders. Learn what not to do now, so you don’t muck up one of the biggest career opportunities you have been presented!
1. Being Complacent
Many interns feel a sense of entitlement. They did their time. They suffered through four years of college. This is their reward. Hands-on experience, specifically designed to boost their resume.
Instead of seeing an internship for what it is – a tremendous learning experience and potential launching pad for the future – young interns see it as a mere transition. They think an internship is a place to rest and recoup after a stressful college career before heading into the work force.
As a result, they come in late. They take a two hour lunch break. They think no one should care or take note. However, an internship is less like a resting place and more like an interview. And you would never be late for an interview, right?
2. Being Too Casual
Most companies have a dress code. If interns don’t know what it is, they should find out immediately. Confusing “business casual” with just “casual” is a huge mistake.
When in doubt, go conservative. It is better to be safe than sorry. In fact, a superior should never have to remind anyone – employee or intern – that open toed shoes or nightclub-worthy attire is never acceptable.
3. Staying PluggedIn
We all live in a technology driven world. While that fact is often quite handy in the workplace, there needs to be a line drawn between business and personal. It should be a big, obvious line; but too often times, an intern will blur that line until it is unrecognizable.
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyways. No texting, taking personal phone calls, listing to an iPod, or checking facebook at work. Also, don’t even think about blogging about your internship.
Email has become the go-to form of communication. It also happens to be a less formal method. However, just because it is less formal doesn’t mean an intern’s spelling errors and run-on sentences won’t go unnoticed.
4. Skipping the Fun Stuff
Often times, companies will schedule informal events and outings. They’ll take their employees and interns to a ball game or host a cocktail party. While it may be tempting to pass these events up to spend some much desired time with friends and family – don’t do it. These are some the best opportunities to get to know co-workers on a more personal level.
5. Complaining about Menial Tasks
Someone has to make the coffee. Those expense reports won’t copy themselves. And people would starve if lunch wasn’t delivered.
Everyone in the company – no matter what level – has to undertake some routine, mundane tasks every once in awhile. Interns are no exception.
6. Remaining Ignorant
Ask questions! Don’t sit there, confused, wondering how to proceed with a project. Interns tend to waste time and energy because they approach a task the wrong way. Instead, those interns should simply ask a few questions.
Asking questions portrays a desire to learn. Intellectual curiosity will set the top-notch intern apart from the rest.
7. Wasting Time
According to Business Weekly, recruiters consistently cite being proactive as one of the most important qualities in a successful intern. If interns are sitting around, waiting to be told what to do, their employer will assume they aren’t doing enough. Instead, interns should look for things to occupy their time (not facebook or solitaire). There is a lot to be learned from trying a new task.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Adam is a professional writer and writing on the behalf of The Intern Group. Check his one more interesting article at degreeify .