Making mistakes during your internship can be costly, especially if you plan to transition to a full-time job with the current company. Since most of the interns are students, mistakes are bound to occur. If you are currently in your first internship, this article would do well to ensure that you do not make any common mistakes.
1. Not following up after your internship is over.
While most interns will spend their last few days getting connected with their supervisor and colleagues who made their internship a valuable experience. It is also important to show the significance of keeping in contact with them every year. The simplest way is to shoot them an email, whether it’s a birthday greeting or festive holiday. This would leave a positive impact on your employer, and they will remember you for your personal touch as well as the desire to keep in contact. They may even refer you to someone who is looking to make new hirings.
2. Not able to accept or adapt into the company culture.
You have been with the company for weeks or a couple of months. You think that you’re fully settled with your current position and responsibilities, you have identified who does what across the company and you can even the fastest route back home after work. Yet, the only thing you are still struggling to cope with is the company’s culture. If you feel like an outsider at a new job, you need to try and step up your social skills in the office. Perhaps you are not feeling confident in your ability to adapt and work well with others. The best scenario is to sit down and talk to your supervisor or your boss about your current situation. The best outcome of the discussion is that your boss imparts some advice on how to improve your current state. It would certainly take time to notice the positive changes and always be genuine as you try to adapt to your company culture.
3. Taking the internship experience too casually
Most interns make the mistake of taking their first working experience too lightly, which lead to poor work performance. Keep in mind that an internship is still a job, and it is your first exposure to real-life experience in the corporate world. Taking the job casually can lead to a negative impression on your supervisor and senior coworkers. Learn to seek advice from your peers in terms of how to maintain a professional demeanour and how to properly engage when it comes to working.
4. Failing to establish relationships
A great professional career owes a lot to building contacts and networking. These are the best perks for being in an internship, and it’s important to make every effort counts towards building a positive relationship. This would benefit you in the long run towards getting jobs that fit your career. Most importantly, it helps to increase your exposure to different sides of the corporate world by connecting with the prominent players in your industry.
5. Not listening to feedback from peers
Listening to constructive feedback is vital to your career development and help reinforce a positive outlook. At times, interns may reach with defensiveness and anger at that moment. It would be easier to halt a dismissive facial expression or reactive quip and remind ourselves to stay calm. Express your appreciation to show that you’re acknowledging the feedback given by your peers and ask questions to deconstruct the feedback. Try to avoid engaging in a debate, and you will be able to gain more clarity as well as the opportunity for you to share your perspective in the discussion.
6. Not speaking up
The fear of not speaking up is common in the workplace, especially for interns. How we make our voices heard can have a bigger impact on our career. To overcome that fear, the easiest way is to prepare a few key points in advance. Learn to pause and breathe as you speak to build your confidence. Most importantly practice daily, and you will never have to fear speaking up for the rest of your entire career.
7. Not respecting the dress code
When you are accepted into an internship for any organisation, you represent the image of the company as well. Showing up at work with casual clothing sends a message that you are not taking the position seriously and that you are not there to contribute or learn in meaningful ways. If you are unclear about the dress code of the company, speak to your supervisor or a human resource representative. Alternatively, look out for the style of dress among your colleagues at work and go with what most of them dress. Your hairstyle, makeup and accessories that you wear are also part of the outfit that you should consider before dressing up.
8. Starting the internship without any goal or plan in mind
An internship is an opportunity for you to get hands-on experience with professionals in the working field. Regardless of the internship is paid or unpaid, it is part of your coursework and invaluable working experience. Set a goal to learn as much as you can throughout your internship period. For example, if you are interning at an accounting firm, become familiar with the software programs utilised in the company.
9. Not learning from your mistakes
You can’t learn anything from a mistake if you do not admit that you’ve made it. Learn to own up to your mistakes, and tell those who need to know. Apologise and tell them that you will strive to sort it out. Apologising takes courage, but it’s certainly better to come clean instead of running away from it or worse blaming it on others.
10. Applying for an internship that does not appeal to you
Even if the internship is not a perfect fit for you, everything in your current position can’t be all that bad. Come up with a list of pros and cons in your current job. From that list, try to identify if there is a way for you to make small adjustments, just so that you can have satisfying work experience. Get honest and ask yourself about how much you are expecting from your internship. Be clear about what your needs are to ensure they can be fulfilled in your current job instead of giving up and search for a different internship. Your internship is the stepping stone to a better career path, and you can find a better career that best suit you once graduated.
What is your worst internship mistake that you commit and how did you overcome it? Leave us your thoughts on the comment sections below. Head over to Jobstore.com and unveil your next job opportunity.
You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.
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