Internship Mistakes You Must Avoid

Internship Mistakes You Must Avoid

An internship is an opportunity to acquire valuable knowledge and skills in your profession. Interns usually work with little or no pay or other legal prerogatives of employment. An internship could also be necessary to further a program of education. In this case, it is a compulsory rite of passage. Many college courses require that students work to gain experience in their chosen field. In some fields like the medical profession, an internship is a final part of training and recent graduates need to land a good place that will help them start a smooth career journey after school.

It is understandable then why a large number of students and recent graduates clamor to get good internships. There is a huge competition amongst a sea of applicants to land the best spots. To stand out from the crowd, you need to start sending in your applications to many firms, starting as early as possible. If you have plans of interning after graduation, it is advisable to start sending in your applications months before graduation if possible. That way you can secure a spot as soon as you leave the classroom. To make your search for an internship efficient, make sure that you tailor your application documents to fit each company. You may also need to prepare for interviews. That is how formal getting an internship can be. Prepare and avoid mistakes that can hinder your application from getting through.

What about when you finally get an internship? Does the hard work end there? Well, it is vital to intern at a place that promises potential, somewhere you can easily start a full-time job. The training and network you get from an internship will benefit you in the future and can give your career a fast and strong start. It could even be your first real work experience and listing it on your resume can provide you an opportunity elsewhere. Therefore, it is important to avoid mistakes before, during, and even after your internship. Mistakes during an internship can cost you a lot and stop you from reaping the full benefits of the internship. What are some common internship mistakes? This article highlights three major mistakes and further provides tips on how to avoid them.

  • Making Mistakes When Choosing a Place for Internship: As we have already pointed out, an internship is different from regular employment. There could be no pay or little pay when compared to full-time employment and other benefits of full-time employment could likely be absent. While it is important to intern at a place that provides the advantages and perquisites you need to excel and grow, focus on long-term benefits like work experience and new skills you will learn. That should be your main goal. Set clear expectations and list what you want to achieve during your internship. That would help you know what makes an organization a good fit for you. When looking out for a place to intern, do not be fixated on less important things like the popularity of the firm or pay that runs in six figures. Another point to note when choosing a place to intern is to make sure that you intern at a place that aligns with your career goals and plans. The organization should also be a place that is attractive to you. That would make your work experience more enjoyable. Do not settle for just anywhere. Carefully choosing a place for an internship helps you avoid making subsequent mistakes.


  • Treating the Internship like a “Fling”: An internship is never a casual job so do not treat it like an after-school or vacation gig. Do not project a negative image of yourself by acting like you are at the company just to complete your coursework or for any other superficial reasons. It is a stepping stone to your career so give it your best. Show up to work on time and on all the days you are expected to come in, carry out your duties with all seriousness, keep to the dress code and respect the company’s hierarchy. Be professional at all times. Also, try to align with the company culture and values. Network and build meaningful relationships with your employer and colleagues. Ask for directions and feedback where you are not clear. Make use of your skills and aim at improving your skillset by the end of your internship. Do not carry out your tasks in a haphazard way because you are “just an intern” and not a full-time employee. Work as hard as any other employee. That ensures that you leave a positive imprint on the minds of your colleagues and employer.


  • “Ghosting” Your Place of Internship When You’re Through: Your place of the internship is the best spot to start building your professional network and your career. Many interns already know how important it is to create a relationship during their internship but some forget to do a follow-up after their internship.  Some interns, especially students are quick to say goodbye once their internship is over. They see it as a phase of their lives or a chore that they cannot wait to be done with. That approach is not ideal if you see a future with the firm. If you have put in your best during the duration of your internship and you see the firm as a place where you would like to work, then you should keep the line of communication open. Even when the company or organization does not offer you a full-time job immediately after your internship, maintain your connection by sending an email or putting a call across to the employer or manager at strategic times maybe during festive periods or your boss’s birthday. Do not allow the company to forget you. More often than not, companies contact people who have worked with them before when they are about to hire. If you remain in touch with your place of internship, then you will be at the top of the list when they are recruiting. Following up will give you an edge over other applicants or even secure you a spot based on your performance.

Career Advice, Job Search Tips

Leave a Reply