Going for your first internship at your dream work place can be the most exciting part about third year and your adult life. At my first internship it almost felt like I had a job. I woke up to go somewhere other than the lecture room.
It was such an exciting time interacting with adults and I couldn’t wait to bring my friends in to see how posh my work place looked like. Looking back now I realize that was the most stupid move I have ever made…bringing my friends to work everyday.
So today I came up with seven dos and don’ts at your first internship;
1. Reaching out to people you don’t know: This is a great way to network with people in different departments. But as we all know that first week can make you a very shy person even if you are the most outstanding. I personally didn’t know how to reach out to people so I only kept to the people who reached out to me.
That was a wrong move!! At your first internship try to interact with people outside your department every week to learn more about the organization. But most importantly treat every single person as if they were a VP — you never know who you’re standing in the elevator with!
2. Having friends at work (or your internship!) makes things a thousand times better: You have someone to talk to about things that happen at work who actually knows what you’re talking about, and you have a way to procrastinate (even if just for a minute or two!) by stopping for a chat in the hallway. I wish I had been more outgoing sooner, because I would have had even more fun in those few months.
3. Make an effort to have lunch in the common room every day: Sometimes I can be a pretty shy person. I actually do know how hard it is to try and swallow food while being watched by several people on the other side of the table as the new girl. Of course everyone will be asking, who is the new girl? So it is super uncomfortable having lunch in front of everyone but I made the effort to put myself out there and it definitely paid off.
4. Don’t allow your friends to visit you daily and for longer hours at work: This is actually the first mistake most interns make. I was guilty of it and at first I didn’t understand why but when you have your friends visit you, it’s hard to get any work done more so if they are visiting daily and for long hours. This behaviour has a chance of jeopardizing your career growth and it’s hard for you to get to know other people if your friends are always around to keep you company.
5. Don’t reach late: Internship is like your future career rehearsal and the earlier you practice keeping time the better. Reaching early at work has a lot of benefits it only depends on how you plan to use those benefits.
6. Don’t gossip about other workers: Huh!! This one has a lot of culprits but if you must gossip do it with your out of work friends. But it’s something you can avoid too if you keep yourself busy.
7. Don’t refuse taking on extra work: The biggest mistake interns make is to refuse taking on extra tasks because they feel like it’s degrading or demoralizing but there is nothing as demoralizing as being unemployable or unemployed.
Just become as soft as sponge and learn as much as you can even the most irrelevant stuff like taking water for a colleague is an act of service that shows you are willing to serve others. That makes you the perfect employee—service is the key.
Hope I have been of help.