5 Sure-Fire Ways to Blow Your Internship

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Posted by The Editors on March 7, 2012
5 Sure-Fire Ways to Blow Your Internship

You may not have heard, but the internship is the new entry-level job. Make sure you don’t blow it right off the bat, so you can prolong your internship, impress your supervisors, and nab that full-time offer.

Here are five disastrous moves to make sure you avoid:

Play on your phone
If your boss calls you into his office to chat and you find he’s jumped on a quick phone call, this doesn’t mean you should occupy yourself on Words With Friends until he’s finished. As an intern, your job is to be on top of your game and ready to take on anything. Playing on your phone, even if you have no work to do, is unprofessional and inconsiderate. Put your phone in your bag and leave it on vibrate. If you are desperate for some outside contact, email your friends from your personal account rather than trying (and failing) to discreetly text your friends. If your teachers could see you texting under your desk all through high school and college, your employer sure can too.

Tuning Out the Office
If you’re in a work environment where putting in earbuds and listening to music is acceptable, it doesn’t mean you should do it from 9 to 5. If your workload is light and you’re able to listen to Jay-Z while completing assignments, then by all means, zone out to It’s A Hark Knock Life. Just make sure you don’t forget where you are and start rapping out loud (awkward.)

Keep the volume low or only put in one earbud, that way you can still hear what’s going on around you. If Cheryl from advertising is going on maternity leave and word around the office is the company’s scrambling for a replacement, you don’t want to miss out on putting your name in the candidate pool because you didn’t hear the news.

Sleeping
We’ve all have those days where 9 a.m. feels way to early to be at the office and the Advil you took to ease your hangover isn’t cutting it.  Being tired doesn’t permit you to lay your head down and take a nap at your desk or sprawl out under it. If you’re having trouble staying awake, grab some coffee, take an energy shot, chew on a protein bar, and if all else fails, call in sick. It’s better to take a personal day and rest up than pass out at work in front of your boss.

Not Taking Initiative
As an intern, you should never be bored. Your job is to make everyone else’s job a little easier.  If your boss doesn’t have an assignment for you to work on at the moment, don’t sit at your desk playing a hand of solitaire. Take this opportunity to ask another person if they need help with something.  Not only will this show your boss you’re a go-getter, it also shows him you’re willing to help out regardless of the task.

Dressing Inappropriately 
In a previous internship, another intern and I were brought on at the same time to often collaborate on projects. She was a great worker, diligent, and smart, but her wardrobe choices were a little risqué even in our casual office setting.  One day she came into work wearing a tight skirt and all it took was one wrong move and the skirt split open entirely in the back exposing her hot pink thong. Talk about embarrassing office moments. Take your wardrobe into consideration at all times. Just because an office is casual doesn’t mean anything goes.

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