Interning is always a great opportunity to network and start building your corporate confidence. The networks you develop during this period could turn out to be your greatest career asset in the years to come.
Despite the nature of internships, it’s always wise to treat the opportunity like a real job failure to which you could end up ruining a great career starter.
If you ever hope to transform the internship opportunity into a permanent job or to get great recommendation thereafter, then you must avoid the following six traps:
1. Not sharing your ideas:
Being an intern does not stop you from thinking and sharing your thoughts and ideas concerning your team or a project you are involved in.
If you have an awesome idea, it is wise to share it with your team leader for consideration.
Your idea could just be what the team needed to unlock the project deadlock.
When you share ideas, you will be seen as an asset thus increasing your likelihood of getting a real job offer.
Keeping mum demonstrates your inability to think creatively besides being a poor team player.
Being perceived as a liability courtesy of your silence will ruin your internship.
2. Having poor verbal judgement
Knowing when to say, what to say, how to say and when not to say or speak are key aspects that could determine a lot in your internship opportunity.
Let not your zeal to deliver value and prove a point cause you to criticize your team members unnecessarily.
Take time to understand how your team operates especially when there is a crisis or when giving negative feedback.
Avoid coming out as the mouthy intern and turning everyone off.
Sometimes, you have to know when to shut up otherwise you could ruin a great internship.
3. Throwing others under the bus
As an intern you must learn how to handle office matters amicably without portraying others in negative light. This will make other people have confidence in you thus increase your chances of learning a lot.
If you have an issue with other staff or other interns, do not send a mail copying in every Tom, Dick and Harry. You could burn a bridge with an influential employee.
Learn to address issues privately to safeguard your internship.
4. Failing to network enough
Do not be selective and avoid networking with senior staff only. Reach out to everyone even beyond your team and build great connections with them.
Seek to understand from your supervisor whether it is fine to help other teams and use the opportunity well in order to be indispensable!
Failure to network effectively and wisely will turn your internship opportunity into a waste of time.
5. Being too friendly
This could be a big trap for interns especially if there are other interns in the same environment.
Avoid the habit of getting too friendly and chatting with other interns or staff during work hours.
Do not let your friendliness get into your way of delivering value since this will create a bad impression before your seniors and team members thus hurt your chances of turning the internship into an even greater opportunity.
6. Hating your work
Being an intern may mean that sometime you are asked to carry out roles which you may not like so much.
Always remember that this is learning time and your liking or dislike of certain roles should never come in your way of making the most of this opportunity.
Be ready to embrace as much as you can. When you do well the little “unlikable” things, then you are likely to get a bigger “like-able” thing.
Don’t let your attitude toward certain roles ruin your internship and the doors that it may open for your thereafter.