Intern Diary #2: What Not to Do as an Intern
You may have heard a number of people tell you what you should do as an intern. There are a number of tips that fit into that category, but what about things you shouldn’t do?
After completing an internship of my own and talking with others who’ve completed internships, I’ve discovered several things interns shouldn’t do while on the job. If you want to make sure your internship goes as well as possible, here are a few things to avoid.
1. Being negative.
No one enjoys working with a negative coworker. If you have a negative attitude while you’re on the job, other employees will notice, and they likely won’t be as willing to talk to you or help you with assignments.
Go into your internship each day with a positive attitude and a smile on your face, and greet your coworkers as you cross paths with them. Not only will you feel happier yourself, but you will also make a positive impact on your coworkers.
2. Not thanking your coworkers.
If a coworker takes time out his or her busy schedule to do something for you, show your appreciation by saying thank you. If you don’t, you will come across as ungrateful, which could cause your coworkers to think less fondly of you.
Think about how you would feel if the roles were reversed. If you helped someone with a task, you’d probably want to feel appreciated for your good deed.
3. Not asking questions.
If you aren’t sure how to do something, ask someone. Guessing is never a good idea, especially if you’re working on an important assignment.
One of the biggest inaccuracies interns assume while on the job is that they will seem unintelligent or inadequate if they ask questions. In reality, most intern supervisors don’t mind answering questions, as long as you pay attention to their answers.
Asking questions lets your supervisor know you care about the work you produce and you want to make sure the job gets done correctly.
4. Assuming you know everything about the job.
Keep in mind that as an intern, you are working with trained professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Don’t be offended or discouraged if you find out you were wrong about something, because chances are, it will happen at some point during your internship.
Assuming you know everything about how to perform the job will also cause you to miss out on great learning opportunities. One of your biggest goals as an intern is to absorb new knowledge, not to act like you’re already an expert.
5. Not keeping in touch once the internship ends.
You may think that once your internship ends, you have no reason to talk to your former boss or coworkers. That’s not the case.
Keeping in touch with employees at your internship site could set you up for opportunities with the company in the future, whether it’s another internship opportunity or a permanent position.
Even if you don’t want to work with the company in the future, your former coworkers will still make good references as you embark on your job search.
With these tips in mind, you should have a more positive and successful internship experience. For more internship tips, check out my first Intern Diaries post.