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4 internship mistakes that will cost you a potential job
Not speaking up could earn you an early dismissal

4 internship mistakes that will cost you a potential job

Okay, I’m not saying that you’ll completely ruin your chances of employment at any company ever by doing the four things below. 

Most people make their mind up about a person in a matter of milliseconds though. So if you manage to fit all of these into your student or graduate internship, you might find yourself kicked to the kerb pretty quickly sans a positive reference.

Whilst internships are not always long-term, they are usually a first real experience of professional working life.  They are also often a deciding factor in the interview process when it’s time to get your first graduate job.

Here are four workplace errors that will prevent you from being kept on at a company and maybe even influence your career progression when you leave.

Not speaking up as soon as an issue arises

Keeping a problem to yourself, especially if there are other people depending on your collaboration, is a sure fire way to completely destroy your credibility if the damage comes to light.

If things go wrong at work you should always tell someone about it, whether or not it was your fault.  Putting it off will only make things worse, especially if the problem directly affects the work of your colleagues.

“Being an intern can mean that you feel nervous about bringing up shortfalls due to a fear of looking inexperienced. However when we hire interns it’s already understood that they won’t have the same level of experience as someone who’s already worked in the field for several years.” 

“As a project manager, being able to keep tabs on what everyone is doing is essential to both my job and those of everyone else in the department, so failing to mention issues can have a knock on effect.” - Sally Morales, Senior Technical Project Manager at BBC News Online

Openly complaining about tasks you’re not enjoying

An odd moan is normal, and as much as people say you should always remain enthusiastic at work, they’d be lying if they said they never drop the odd comment about a particular project being tedious. 

Nonetheless, if you spend the better part of your day groaning to peers about boring or difficult tasks you’ve been set, you’ll end up being branded as a source of negativity in the office.

A good tip is to always line your statement of displeasure with a silver lining.  For example: “this market report is dragging on. I’ve picked up some great information that will go down well in Thursday's meeting though”. 

This kind of statement gets the message out that you’re not enjoying yourself, but ends positively and won’t turn your colleagues against you for the day.

Constantly talking about your “ideal” or future job

Whilst nobody expects an internship or graduate job to be the first and last for anyone, it’s still pretty unprofessional to discuss career plans that look past wherever it is you’re currently working, at any stage in life.

Talking about the place you work in a way that paints it as a stepping-stone to something better will ensure that your internship ends in a timely fashion, and maybe even earlier if you cause enough disapproval amongst higher ranking staff.

If somebody at work with asks about your aspirations for the short or long-term, engage but keep your answers brief, and always add in positive comments about the company you’re with at the time. 

Don’t make it seem like you’re already waiting for the placement to end so you can get a “proper job”.

Letting everyone see that you’re keeping your options open

It goes without saying, but updating your CV, your LinkedIn profile or scrolling through job listings should never be done in the workplace. 

That being said, in a world where social media is a daily habit and window shopping a favourite past-time, you might not even realise you’re doing things that jeopardise your chances of being kept on after your internship.

Take LinkedIn for example.  Whereas you might see it as a snooping tool or source of professional insight, the company boss is likely to see it as a recruitment tool first and foremost.  If you find yourself regularly scrolling through Pulse threads over lunch, you might want to bear this in mind, as your scrolling could be picked up by others throughout the day.

Similarly, asking colleagues at your office for LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements is a sure fire way to let people know you’re actively looking for a job.  Try to wait until just before you’re due to leave, by which time it would be expected and reasonable anyway. It could also speed up any job offer you may have been hoping for if they see that you’re preparing to leave.

Those are my four mistakes that will cost you a potential job after the end of your internship. Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear some, share them here or over on the company Facebook page to let us know what you think!

About the author

Shannon Patterson graduated from a degree in Modern Languages this year and currently works as a Social Media & Content Executive for 10 Minutes With in London.

A keen writer, Shannon enjoys eating, blogging, virtual worlds and self-improvement listicles.  Feel free to connect with her via LinkedIn or Twitter.

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