As someone who has been in the working world for about a year and half, I can honestly say that the three internships I had in college were so helpful. Not only did I learn a ton, but I also was able to gain a better impression for what it means to be working full-time post college. I firmly believe that no amount of classroom learning can replace what you learn in an internship.
With that being said, I wanted to give back and provide seven helpful internship tips for college students.
1. An internship- paid or unpaid- is a PRIVILEGE.
With that privilege, it means that you need to be mature and act responsibly. Remember, you are not entitled to anything. You have to work hard.
2. Don’t assume you are above grunt work!
As an intern, assume you will be having to get people coffee and make photocopies on occasion. Don’t bitch and complain about it. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. Think of these tasks as a way to prove you are responsible, hard-working and capable, and slowly, but surely you will get more responsibilities.
3. Don’t sleep with anyone in the office!
Monica Lewinsky is probably the most famous intern to do this. While most interns won’t sleep with the president, sleeping with a coworker is still a bad idea. It might work in your favor at first, but just don’t do it. It’s only going to lead to trouble.
4. Dress appropriately!
Professional attire can vary in offices. That could mean anything from jeans and a blazer to a suit and tie. If you aren’t sure, just ask. That being said. Ladies, skimpy shirts, mini-skirts and stilettos are never okay in the office. Dressing provocatively may initially get you noticed, particularly if you are a female intern in a male-dominated office. But, that’s not how you want to get noticed and may result in mistake #3.
5. Don’t think you’re entitled to a full-time job after your internship!
While some interns will work their way up to a paid position, it’s by NO MEANS A GUARANTEE. Asking this before you get the internship or walking in there assuming you are going to get a great job from a short internship is cocky and just plain dumb.
6. Don’t get “power-hungry”
There’s a big difference between an intern and a full-time salaried employee. Don’t confuse that distinction. No matter how hard you try, you cannot fully understand an office environment until you work there full-time for at least 6 months. Interns, who get power-hungry and think they know it all, will end up coming across cocky and arrogant. Don’t be that person.
7. Be an open book and ask questions
Remember to help out. listen and volunteer for any opportunity that comes your way. An internship should be a glimpse into the working world. Use it as such. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.