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Student Internships Survival Tips - 5 Don'ts For Interns


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There is a lot to learn as an intern, and you might find that it is difficult to keep all of the information straight. Many who hold student internships feel shy about asking questions or admitting that they can't do something. The reality is that few supervisors are going to expect perfection, and a few mistakes along the way are perfectly acceptable.

A few things, however, are totally unacceptable and could cost an intern their position. The following is a list of ten things and intern should never do:

1. LIE: There is no excuse for lying in the workplace, and the likelihood that you'll get caught in the end is high when you're at the bottom of the totem pole. Covering up for yourself or others is only going to make you seem shady and untrustworthy. While it is never easy to admit that you've done something wrong, always remember that getting in trouble only happens once; constantly trying to cover up a lie is an ongoing issue and can truly plague your internship.

2. GOSSIP: While it is ok to talk about celebrity gossip, gossiping about your co-workers, and especially your supervisor, will get you nowhere. It is nice to think that you can trust your fellow interns and co-workers, but you must assume that everything that you say to anyone in the workplace (including after hours drinks or other activities) can (and will) be repeated. This doesn't mean being unfriendly, it simply means avoiding any negative discussion of anyone's performance or personal problems. If you find yourself in a conversation that takes a gossipy turn, the best thing to do is politely excuse yourself.

3. COMPLAIN: Along the lines of gossip, complaining openly about your work is one of the easiest ways to attract negative attention. A good rule of thumb is to never say anything about your feelings regarding your tasks or assignments that you wouldn't say directly to your supervisor. If you feel like you are being under-utilized, or you don't understand the point of something you are assigned, take it up with your supervisor. The worst move you can make is creating unrest among interns by complaining about how lousy your internship is; this will only make you seem petty.

4. BE ANTI-SOCIAL: It may not seem like it, but many eyes are on you as an intern, especially in your first few weeks. Bosses will be watching to see you if you can fit in as an employee, and other interns will be sizing up the competition. Since many of the “don'ts" on this list involve personal interactions, it may seem like the safest thing is to cut yourself off from your fellow employees. This is definitely not going to get you a job at the end of the summer, and will probably only make your job more difficult. While everyone has different opinions about exactly how friendly to be with co-workers, no one would agree that it is a good idea to ignore them altogether. If the office is throwing a party in the break room or a large group is going out for drinks, accept the invitation and make small talk. You may or may not make real friends, but you will absolutely look like you are friendly and are making an effort.

5. ROMANCE THE BOSS: You should never, ever enter a romantic relationship with a superior. This is non-negotiable and a sure way to get fired, especially from an internship. If your boss implies that this is something that he or she is interested in, tell you university coordinator or if you don't have one, politely tell him or her that you don't think it is appropriate.

After graduating from college students typically hit the pavement seeking full-time work - a beginning to their career. Guidance counselors encourage students to pursue internships for a number of reasons, including exposure to a professional work environment, networking opportunities, and resume enhancement. Find out much more about this topic from Lisa Jenkins, an accomplished career writer for JobMonkey - a free job board and career library. She describes many of the best internship programs and details how to be a good intern.


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