7 Most common mistakes made by Interns

Posted by | July 4, 2013 | Tips for Interns

An internship is a time for you to learn and develop your skills in your chosen field. As you are just starting out on your path to a successful career, you are bound to make mistakes. These are the most common mistakes made by interns.Have a look at these mistakes and make sure your don’t make them.

1. Dressing Inappropriately.

It is tough to figure out what to wear to work especially in your internship. In many companies the dress code is ‘business casual’. Business casual does not mean mini skirts and grungy jeans, so don’t take the ‘casual’ part to literally.

When in doubt dress up. It is always better to be too fancy then too casual. Remember dressing up doesn’t mean dressing up for a night on the tiles.Read the environment. Look at other people in the office and see what they are wearing and you will soon find out what is appropriate.

2. Complaining about being bored.

You may not always have a lot of projects to keep your mind occupied, but do not complain about being bored. The reality of life is work can and will be boring at times.

Use your initiative and do some research to keep yourself occupied. Do not spend the day watching the clock. The company you are working for is not their to keep you entertained, that is the job of your friends at home time.

3. Thinking about only what you can get from the Internship and not what you can GIVE!

One of the most common mistakes made by interns is that they think they are there just to learn. Of course this is one of your main objectives during your internship, but it is not the only goal. Successful interns focus on what they can deliver and not what they are able to get from the internship.

Interns can gain valuable experience and relationships, that they can incorporate into their future career, but your mindset really matters. Think about the ideas you can give and what you can contribute. If it helps the team you will build trust which will lead to more substantive projects. Always remember your ideas are just as great and fantastic as everyone else.

4. Arguing after making a mistake.

Guess what? We are all human. We all make mistakes. As an intern you are just  learning so you are bound to make mistakes.

Do not tell your boss why you did something wrong or try to defend your actions. Instead listen, take it on board, acknowledge you made a mistake and learn what you did wrong so you don’t do it again. Ask questions if you do not fully understand your mistake. Your boss will then see how keen you are to learn and improve.

5. Not speaking up.

Being an intern can be very intimidating. It is easy to feel insecure because you may be younger or have less experience than everyone else. Don’t let this hold you back, don’t be afraid to speak up.

Offer suggestions. Just because your an intern doesn’t mean you don’t have great ideas. Who knows whats locked up in your brain if you don’t use it. You never know the CEO of the next big company could be hiding up there, somewhere.

6. Forgetting to thank people who help you throughout your Internship.

You must go into your internship knowing that no one owes you anything. You must also appreciate the little things people do to help you, this is just common courtesy.

You can almost guarantee that you will need to ask for help at some stage during your internship. It is imperative that you offer a sincere ‘thank you’ as they really didn’t have to help. Manners goes along way and people will notice. If you are mannerly your colleagues will be more willing to offer their help in the future.

7. Not excelling in boring tasks.

You might wonder how being good at photocopying  has to do with your ability to do higher-level work. When you start your internship you need to realize that you have not proven your self in the working world yet.

Doing a great job on menial tasks will show you pay attention to detail and follow instructions well. If you excel at boring tasks and do them with enthusiasm you will increase your chances of getting more interesting assignment, as you will be trusted to do more higher-level work.


So go ahead do your best to avoid these common mistakes and make the best impression in your internship. Have you made other mistakes that are not on this list or do you have any more advice? If so please comment below.

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