10 Mistakes All Interns Make, and So Can You!

Top 10 Goofs Interns Make from Business Week highlights the best ways to make your time as an intern utterly unsuccessful. Here you go.

1. The Entitlement Syndrome. Don’t write off your job as “just an internship” and start coming in late or taking two hour lunches. Think of your internship as a summer-long job interview.

2. No Flip-Flopping at the Office. Business casual doesn’t just mean casual. Attire expectations vary depending on location and company, but just be aware: it’s better to dress on the conservative side than expose too much, especially as an intern.

3. Forgetting to Unplug. Even if you don’t think that listening to your Ipod, talking on your cell phone or chatting on IM at work interferes with your responsibilities, your behavior might be interfering with how you’re being assessed as a professional. UPDATE: It depends on your industry, but many companies encourage their employees to use IM to communicate with colleagues at work. If you happened to IM your friends as well, just do it discretely and make sure it isn’t interfering with your work. Also, listening to your iPod may not be the end of the world if you’re finding it hard to concentrate amidst the constant office babble. Just check with your boss first. (update thanks to my coworker, Lexi).

4. Being a Wallflower. Good interpersonal skills are key. Socialize and make the most of company events to meet people and get advice.

5. Ducking the Extracurriculars. A lot of companies arrange informal events for employees to socialize. And while you might think that working through the party will make you look good, you may be missing the point.

6. Grunting About Grunt Work. You’re at the bottom, which means that no task is below you. Getting coffee, filing papers? Just smile and do it.

7. Missing the Big Picture. Don’t just stick to your team or department. Talk to as many people as possible so you get a better understanding of the entire company.

8. Failing to Ask Questions. You don’t know everything (or anything) about your new job and required tasks. Asking intelligent questions reflects your desire to learn.

9. Rejecting Criticism. Think of constructive criticism as a valuable opportunity to learn and improve your skills. Be open to hearing how you can do better.

10. Wasting Time. Being proactive is a huge part of being a successful intern. If you’re waiting to be told what to do, you’re not doing enough.

image from Businessweek.com

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July 29, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , . Career Advice.

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