Mistakes to Avoid in Internship

December 18, 2020 0 Comments
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7 Mistakes To Avoid On Your Internship

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So, you’re about to start your internship, you must be both excited and nervous about what lies ahead. I’m sure you’re already well prepared to take your first steps into the working world.
However, just to be sure and to give you the best possible chance of succeeding, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the most commonly made mistakes by interns and how to avoid them!

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1. Taking yourself too seriously

Going into an internship it’s important to remember that you are there because of your potential to succeed in a certain profession or industry. However, you haven’t proved yourself yet, so be humble for the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge. Acting like a know-it-all will do nothing to help you, because the people that work there have more expertise than you do. Treat them with respect, and if you make a mistake, don’t be put off – no one expects you to be perfect (yet)!

2. Acting too passively

When you are new to a work environment, sometimes it can be intimidating speaking up when you have a question or concern. While we are not advising anyone to bother their supervisor over trivial issues (which is another internship don’t!), make sure you take the initiative to ask if something is unclear, or if you’d like to learn more about a certain aspect of the business. Perform every task to the best of your ability, even if that means having to act outside of your comfort zone.

3. Being unwilling to do certain tasks

No matter which industry, company or field your internship concerns, there will be times when you have to perform tasks which are not particularly interesting, such as photocopying or coffee runs. Many interns see them as irrelevant to their progress or success, and do them with visible reluctance. This is a huge mistake. True, the act of sharpening pencils might not be particularly beneficial to your career, but your attitude towards such tasks is. If you just get on with it cheerfully, you will be remembered for your positive work ethic, and your colleagues will form a better impression of you.

4. Not doing your research

Just because you have been successful getting an internship, you still have not actually demonstrated your capabilities in the office. There is nothing worse than an intern who does not express interest in what they’re doing – it’s clear to everyone else that you are only there for a resume boost. If you are going to be interning in a company, take the time to read up on it, and be as in the ‘know’ about it as much as you can before starting your first day. Don’t ask questions that you can find the answers to online. You are there to learn, but only if you prove to your employers that you are willing and able to do so.

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5. Ignoring office culture

No two companies are alike. The customs and formalities (such as dress code, lunch breaks, and general office etiquette) may vary drastically, depending on whether you are working in a large multi-national corporation, or a small start-up. However, on your first day, be cautious and treat the working environment as if it were very formal. Afterwards, you can adapt to your observations accordingly – after all, it would be weird if after a month you were still dressed in 3-piece suits when everyone else wore flip flops and shorts!

6. Engaging in unprofessional behavior (e.g. gossiping)

No matter how casual the office environment may seem, there are certain behaviors that are never acceptable under any circumstances. Always keep in mind that as an intern, you are starting at the bottom of the ladder. You do not have the security to gossip about your peers, or criticize anyone else’s work. Even if you observe this kind of behavior around the office, politely decline to participate. Getting involved with office drama or politics is completely inappropriate, and a huge no-no.

7. Underestimating yourself!

Having read this article, you might be feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the things you need to consider as you begin your internship, whether it’s in China or not. I’m sure you could write a list as long as your arm of other mistakes to avoid whilst on an internship, but having said that, it’s also really important to show confidence in all you do. Your company has chosen you to intern because they are impressed with your qualifications, and the potential you have to make a real difference in their industry. Yes, you may still be seen as ‘just’ an intern, but that does not make your work any less important or valuable. You are as much a part of the team as anyone else. Go in and ace it!

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