Internships are an essential part of university for students to increase their networks and to get a foot in the door. Internships can be quite daunting at times as interns are often stereotyped as ‘the coffee runners’ and a less important part of the business. In reality, when a company accepts an intern, their goal is to provide you with an experience; to complete tasks and overcome challenges to help you further succeed in your desired career.
There are many things that you can do right at your internship but there are also many things that you can do wrong. Avoid these missteps below to ensure that your time as an intern is a success.
- Over or Underdress
Internship attire is nothing different to what you would wear if you were a full time employee. Most company’s dress smart-casual, knee length skirts or jeans and a blouse or top with a jacket and a full length shirt for men. You want to look sophisticated yet relaxed and comfortable in your outfit. It is also important to dress relative to the company you are representing. Don’t wear your best suit if you’re interning at a surf- shop, and, similarly, do not look overly casual when you’re in a corporate environment. When in doubt follow this simple rule: do not turn up in an outfit that is a replica of the one you wore out Saturday night.
- Expect to be the CEO on the First Day
Beginning an internship is supposed to be an exciting journey to showcase your talent as well as an opportunity to learn new skills and experience a professional working environment. Some students enter internships with a holier-than-thou attitude and expect to be promoted on their first day. Even though you may have multiple skills in the field, you are essentially there to gain new ones, listen and learn, at no cost to you or the business.
- Get Caught on Your Phone
Of course the first thing we all look at when we wake up, get out of the car and sit down at work is our phone. Check the feed, do some scrolling and send some snaps. As you are an intern, things are not the same. The best way to avoid looking at your phone is to leave it in your bag. The last thing you want at an internship is to be caught doing something you’re not meant to be doing. This is a sure fire way to guarantee you end up on the coffee run.
- Use Slang
Australia is renowned for it. Slang is a common language that is used in Australian’s vocabulary every single day. The more memes that are created, the more idiotic and pointless the slang and hashtags become. The workplace is not a place to be telling your work colleagues how ‘lit’ your weekend was, or, chant ‘YOLO’ in the middle of the meeting room. Strictly no slang and no hashtags in the office as it can be seen as immature and unprofessional.
- Treat it Like an Internship
Yes, at most internships it is unpaid work. But it doesn’t mean you can treat this like you’re not getting paid. You should treat it like a paid job as the company is providing you with experience in your chosen career field which can create many networks and possibly a job in the future. The more you treat the internship like you’re a full time employee, the more you will be respected and applauded for your hard work and dedication to the company.
By Kate Healy and Emily Fitzgibbons