5 things you should never do at your internship

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With so much competition for job placement following internships, you definitely don't want to make any of these critical mistakes. (Photo: Hemera Technologies/Getty Images)

With so much competition for job placement following internships, you definitely don’t want to make any of these critical mistakes.
(Photo: Hemera Technologies/Getty Images)

Internships can turn into job offers. Don’t let a great opportunity slip through your fingers by making one of these crucial mistakes.

Internships allow students to explore a career while providing the opportunity to network, develop mentor-mentee relationships and gain valuable work experience. Internship coordinators often let their interns sit in on meetings, send company e-mails and try their hand at working on projects. If interns shine, it’s possible bigger assignments will come their way and higher-ups in the company will notice their work.

Therefore, it’s common for internships to turn into jobs. With the job market being so competitive, internships are a direct way for students to showcase their skills and demonstrate their professionalism. With so much weighing on the internship experience, here are five things to avoid doing:

1. Showing up late and missing deadlines.

An internship is the time to transition from being a student to a professional, which means that showing up on time and making deadlines is important. Doing these things also signals that you are responsible, dependable and care about your work, which are qualities needed to secure a job.

2. Ignoring company culture.

Interns are focused on learning new skills (which is important), but it’s also essential to look around the office and observe common practices. Do people correspond in person or via e-mail? Does everyone wear a suit to the office? Do your co-workers always stay late on Tuesdays? Interns should sync their work habits to what the employer values.

3. Declining an invitation to a company function.

It’s understandable that after working a 40-hour week for little (or no) pay that an intern would rather skip out on the company picnic. Don’t. By going to company functions, interns can show they are part of the team and meet upper-level managers they normally wouldn’t interact with on a daily basis.

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4. Never asking for feedback.

If an intern cares about securing a job after graduation, it may be intimidating to ask questions or seek ways to improve. Internship supervisors don’t expect perfection. Instead, they want to see someone who is willing to grow and improve.

5. Missing the opportunity to express gratitude.

If a co-worker takes time to answer all your questions or helps you enhance a project, send a thank-you note. Also send a thank-you note at the end of your internship to everyone who assisted you throughout the process. It shows you valued their time, and it is one more way to network.

Jorie Scholnik currently works as an assistant professor at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla., where she teaches career classes and leads an etiquette club.

Courtesy of USA Today

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