Internships typically run three months. Interns often feel pressure to perform in the short period of time they are given, to prove to the company that they are capable. They can make mistakes, however, that get in the way of their efforts to shine. Here are some of the most common mistakes that interns make during their internships, and ways to fix these problems.
Not taking work very seriously
An internship may not be a job, but you’re expected to act as if it were one. Both employees and successful interns do not wait for everything to be explained to them when they first come to the company. Instead, they go after their work full-time, trying their best to learn on their own, and asking questions wherever possible. The secret to a successful internship is to see the position as if it were a real job, and to take ownership.
Not getting feedback on your project
Often, interns are shy about showing their project to their boss until it is complete. They believe that a project in progress is unlikely to impress anyone. In truth, however, impressing people isn’t the aim of the project; getting it right is. Unless you have input that tells you how well or poorly are doing, you will end up with a project that fails to get you a full-time offer down the road. The lesson to learn is that you need to bring in your boss and other stakeholders early on when you create your project. This way, you will have time for course corrections.
Neglecting to ask enough questions
In the beginning, you’re probably unwilling to stand up and ask about everything that you don’t understand. You will probably want to take a wait-and-watch approach, absorbing everything you can first, before stepping up and asking for help. While there is something to be said for waiting before asking, internships only last a short time. For this reason, it’s important to begin asking those questions from day one.
Attempting a big surprise
It’s understandable that you may want to create excitement when you make your midpoint or final presentation. Keeping your project and its conclusions and recommendations secret, however, is not the way to achieve surprise. When you only reveal everything at the presentation, you may find that they don’t go over well with your manager or other supervisor. For this reason, it’s best to share your presentation with all important stakeholders as early as possible. If there are corrections to make, you will learn about them as early in the process as possible.
Neglecting to join hands with other interns
In a way, an internship is like school. If there’s something that you don’t understand, you can either keep trying, or find someone to tutor you. As an intern, you will find that sometimes, the managers that you usually go to are too busy to give you time. In such circumstances, rather than simply wait around for advice, it’s a good idea to look for other interns who may be at your company, and compare notes. You’ll end up helping each other, and getting farther than you would have done alone.
When you have limited time in which to prove yourself, it’s best to try every avenue possible. As an intern, you need to be proactive avoiding mistakes and solving your problems.
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