I’m a big supporter of student interns. In fact, I love ’em! These bright young guys and gals have been wonderful additions to our office, yes, you too Annette! I make room for at least two interns per year and so far I’ve hired each one after their formal training.
Still, after observing interns over the last decade, I’ve noticed some all-too-common mistakes that can easily be avoided.
These rookie errors can have a real negative impact on interns seeking full-time employment. Remember folks, an internship is like an eight-week interview: every impression counts and will be remembered.
Here are my Top Five Internship Blunders:
#5 - Calling in sick the day after a long weekend: This one is an all-time big no-no. You better have a limb falling off you or a massive Pitbull bite on your leg if you are calling in sick after a long weekend. No one back in the office wants to hear that you aren’t feeling well and, quite frankly, hardly anyone will believe you. It’s an unwritten rule in most corporate settings that you haul your ass into work after a three-day cottage drunk-fest. Put in your day at the office ... and then pass out at home if need be.
#4 - The party’s for you too, bonzo! If you are lucky enough to get a job where the company throws holiday or seasonal parties, make sure you attend. Don’t be a no-show ‘cause you have an Ashanti yoga class that night. Management hosts parties as a way to build corporate culture, blow off steam and celebrate successes. Not showing up reveals how little you want to be part of the firm. And when you get to the party, don’t wear the lampshade on your head, start a conga line to the toilets or partake in body-shots with your co-workers. Instead, take part in the conversation and the activities and you’ll get noticed as a great team player right from the start.
#3 - Keep the iPOD and IMing at home: You might think you are still working hard, but listening to Jay-Z through your ear buds or IMing your buddies is frowned upon by most corporations and is seen as intrusive technology. You might think it’s hip and cool and “everyone is doing it” but you’re wrong. They aren’t. And while you’re at it, don’t blog excessively from the office either. You’re there to work and stand out as a proactive team member.
#2 - Find a voice and use it: There’s nothing worse than someone who stares into a glowing computer screen all day or who can’t handle a conversation with the boss in the lunchroom. Wallflowers in any business will get steamrolled. Historically, PR agencies are fertile ground for idea sharing, teamwork and freedom of expression. Got an opinion? Express it! We want to hear from you more often than you think.
And the #1 Internship Blunder is...
#1 - Complaining about the work load: If you think it’s busy now as an intern, wait until you get hired full-time! Eat at your desk, learn to prioritize, or take home the odd bits of work if you are falling behind. But never, ever, complain you have too much to do. Instead, be thankful your boss took a chance on you. Smile and say thank you – even when another work file hits your desk.