What NOT To Do In Your Internship

BY Danica Pinto |

As an internship provider, our consultants are constantly managing student expectations and the professionalism students need to display at interviews as well as during the internship. But sometimes students forget what not to do in their internship.  

So, here’s some DON’Ts to leave at the door before you enter the office for the duration of your internship, which if carried out can cost you your internship. None of the below screams professional, eager and work ready.  Make this your mantra whilst undertaking your internship!

Do NOT break the dress code:

If you’re not sure what you need to wear always go with a semi business attire on your first day (no flip flops, t-shirts, shorts, miniskirts, clothing that shows your midriff etc.). Always ask your supervisor or the HR business partner (on your first day) what the dress code is and strictly adhere to it - even if your colleagues don’t. Never take off your footwear and walk around the office, even on a Friday when it’s casual wear.

Do NOT show up after your start time:

Punctuality is key. Showing late for work during an internship shows you don’t respect your managers’/colleagues time or the professional workplace. It also shows you’re not taking your internship seriously. Do not just sneak into the office and sit at your desk as if you were there all along. If you are running late make sure you let your manager or supervisor know – it better be a good reason.

Do NOT use your mobile at your desk:

Turn your mobile on silent or switch off when you step into your workplace. Put your mobile away either in your pocket or in your bag. Do not take it out unless you are on your lunch break or have left work for the day. If it is an emergency, excuse yourself from your manager or supervisor and take/make the call in a room or off the floor (in a private space and make it quick).

Do NOT surf the internet:

Whether on your work computer, laptop or phone don’t surf the internet. Train and bus rides are for surfing the internet. Get up to speed with your social media on your journey to work or from work. Surfing the internet means either you don’t have any work to do or you’re pretending to do work and neither is professional.

Do NOT sit idle:

If you complete a task assigned to you, take the initiative to approach your manager or supervisor on other tasks you can complete or help them with. Volunteer to help your colleagues and let your manager or supervisor know you are doing so. Never sit at your desk doing nothing or twiddling your thumbs. Taking initiative and helping your team speaks to you being a team player and a hard working team mate.

Do NOT interrupt:

Being eager and sharing your ideas is a wonderful quality to showcase as an intern, interrupting is not. Do not interrupt another person when they are speaking even if it is to ask for help. Always, wait for them to finish speaking, patiently wait your turn.

Do NOT ask for a permanent role:

Give your internship a 100%, it is your chance at a real world job. Pay attention and work hard, learn as much as you can during this short stint and your effort and results will speak for itself. Remember, you have been given the opportunity to learn from some very talented and intelligent individuals, be thankful! Don’t ruin the relationship by asking for a permanent role, instead ask your manager or supervisor for feedback or if they are happy to be your reference.

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