Common mistakes interns make at work
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Common mistakes interns make at work

Common mistakes interns make at work

Are you starting your internship soon?

Whether you’re excited or nervous about the prospects of working in the ‘real world’, there are some important things to bear in mind before you enter the fray.

To help you make the best out of your internship, Study International has compiled a non-exhaustive list of common internship mistakes so you can go forth and knock the socks off your colleagues and employers!

Let’s get started:

Not giving your best

Not-giving-your-best-at-work

Despite being an intern, you should still give it your all. Source: Shutterstock

As an intern, you may not be considered a permanent employee, but that’s no reason to avoid pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to deliver your best.

Avoid producing sub-par work and remember to be efficient – this means getting things right the first time. You may be able to retake a course after failing a class in university but in the workplace, you may not have the luxury of a second chance.

As the saying goes, measure twice, cut once.

Failing to ask questions

Not-giving-your-best-at-work  Failing-to-ask-questions

Ask your colleagues for tips on completing certain tasks if you’re feeling lost. Source: Shutterstock

Don’t let your fear of sounding stupid prevent you from asking questions, whether it’s about your role, tasks or even the industry.

Ask your colleagues for help or for tips on completing certain tasks if you’re feeling lost. If they’re friendly and approachable, you could even consider approaching them for career advice if you’re uncertain whether a particular career path is right for you, especially if they’ve been in the industry for several years.

For example, journalism interns may want to ask their seniors for advice when covering certain stories, or even tips on getting shy interviewees to open up. After all, asking questions will facilitate your learning, so ask away!

Failing to network

Not-giving-your-best-at-work  Failing-to-ask-questions  Not-networking

It’s not necessarily about what you know, but who you know. Source: Shutterstock

You may have heard that when it comes to the working world, it’s all about who you know, and not what you know.

Networking can help you advance your career, which is why it’s important to get to know your colleagues. Working with people from different age groups and specialities can seem daunting – especially if it’s your first time working within a professional context, but it’s an effort worth making.

Having a good relationship with your coworkers can boost morale when things get tough in the office, while keeping in touch with former colleagues upon completing your internship will also be useful should you need a reference for potential jobs upon graduating.   

Complaining about work (or a lack of it)

Not-giving-your-best-at-work  Failing-to-ask-questions  Not-networking  Complaining-about-work-or-a-lack-of-it

Don’t whine about problems – take proactive measures instead. Source: Shutterstock

Some interns may find themselves with limited tasks to do during their internship period, while others may find themselves being thrown into the deep end from day one. But brooding about being overworked/underworked will do little to solve the problem.

If you find yourself with too little or too much to do, you may want to find a time to speak to your superior about how you can apply your skills and be more helpful in the office, or about negotiating new deadlines for tasks you may not be able to deliver within the set time frame.

While your internship may not always turn out as you expected, taking proactive measures to solve problems shows maturity on your part. You shouldn’t be behaving in ways that burns bridges with your employer and colleagues.

Not getting feedback from your superiors

Not-giving-your-best-at-work  Failing-to-ask-questions  Not-networking  Complaining-about-work-or-a-lack-of-it  Not-getting-feedback-from-your-superiors

Get feedback from your superiors to enrich the learning process. Source: Shutterstock

No one is perfect, and there’s always room for improvement.

An internship functions as a platform for students to apply what they’ve learnt in the classroom, as well as to learn about things that can’t really been taught in class. By getting feedback from your superiors, you’ll not only facilitate your learning process but boost your chances of becoming a better worker in your next job.

Adjusting to your role as an intern can be challenging, but with hard work and perseverance, delivering a good performance during your internship may land you a full-time gig with the company you’re interning with.

Good luck!

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