You worked really hard on your resume, wardrobe, accessories, communication skills, basically your overall personality for that dream internship. And you earned it. For your friends, you are this pumped up buddy who is set to make it big and all but in reality, you feel like a lost kid in this humongous world called employment.
Valid so, because no matter how fancy your resume looks, how confident you feel or how exciting the idea of getting to learn in your dream organization may sound like, you are totally unaware about the dos and don’ts about that first internship.
Well, don’t feel stressed out, we got you covered!
If you are about to start your internship, here are 15 things you should keep in mind!
1. Dress Accordingly
We needn’t say much here because the first impression will always be the last impression. This can be a little tricky. Because practically you are still in college (and you feel too comfortable in your pair of rugged jeans and Hulk T-shirt) but at the same time, you got to look like a young professional eager to learn new things. So the safest option we suggest is dress in formals or semi-formals even if you got through the coolest company that doesn’t believe in dress codes. Trust us; you can never go wrong in basic formals.
PS: Avoid street, funky fashion style on your first day.
2. Respect Time
No emphasis here. Always be on time no matter what.
3. Be Enthusiastic
Though this would come naturally to most of you college goers, but show the enthusiasm in the right manner. Keep it in proportion. No one wants a lazy, lost intern neither do they want the boisterous, over-the-top kinds. Channelize all your enthusiasm into learning new things and expressing the fact that you are eager to nurture your skills and put your knowledge into use.
4. Listen Before Acting/Speaking
This would always remain with you even after your internship ends. In your first internship, it is important to listen to your senior/mentors carefully before you decide to speak or act on it. Absorb every bit of the instruction given to you, before you take a call on it.
5. Be Professional While Addressing Seniors And Co-Workers
Be mindful on how you decide to address your senior and co-workers. Whether you have gone through a reference or know someone who is working there, always maintain professionalism. Start off with sir and ma’am unless you are specifically told to address them by their names.
PS: Strict no’s to dude/dudette, babe, buddy, bhaiya or didi at work.
6. Mind Your Language
Your mentor or senior might be chilled out people but ensure that you DO mind your language while speaking with them. Respect your colleagues, seniors, and mentors, for somewhere they are more knowledgeable than you. Even if you are upset over something, don’t let it reflect when you are talking to them. if need be, take it up on a one to one basis.
7. Do Not Trespass
Your internship does give you rights to explore your workplace fully, but it doesn’t give you the right to trespass. Every office has some forbidden areas, so avoid trespassing wherever you feel like unless you want to get into trouble.
8. Counter Only If You Are Logical
Agree to disagree is one of the few important things you learn during your first internship. While it is always good to be expressive, argue, and question what has been told to you, but it is equally important to back it up with logical reasoning. Do not counter for the heck of it, it is not appreciated. Have a rational explanation for your disagreement.
9. Don’t Be Too Naive
While it is a widespread norm that interns are supposed to do as they are told (no questions asked), but that should nowhere mean that you say a yes to everything. You have to understand the difference between being naive and being hesitant and dumb. So, do say a yes to whatever makes sense to you. And when it doesn’t, speak about it, do not follow anything blindly.
10. Be Honest
The basic idea of an internship is to give you a chance to learn new things in the field you have chosen. It is absolutely okay if you don’t know a particular thing because interns are not expected to know-it-all. No organization would kill you for saying this.
Once you start working as an employee, you will realise that saying ‘I Don’t Know’ is one of the perks only an intern can relish.
11. Say When You Are Stuck
If your mentor/senior has given you a task and you stuck in the middle, do not insist in sitting on it, instead just let your senior know that you are confused or need assistance. Do not hesitate to ask the same thing twice. At the end of the day, it’s learning that matters the most.
12. Don’t Assume
Do not assume and presume things in your head during your internship. We are not questioning your logical powers, but, while doing a task, anywhere you feel you need to do a certain thing in a certain way (which according to you is right), let your seniors know. Don’t be under the impression that it is going to be the right way of doing it. Because, your understanding as an intern maybe (and in most cases, is) way different from that of your seniors.
13. Don’t Be Afraid To Commit Mistakes
Internship means committing mistakes while on the job and learning from them. Commit (a variety of) mistakes because an internship is a legitimate phase when you are allowed to do so. Not that you will not be questioned, but you will not be entirely responsible for it because you are technically still learning. Even if you are scolded pretty badly, always understand the reason behind it.
14. Take Criticism In Your Stride
Criticism is a subtle (or not-so-subtle) way of telling you to improve or get your act right. If your mentor is criticising you or pushing you off the edge, it’s because they want to bring out the best out of you.
And if you still have doubts, remember what Sir Winston Churchill said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
15. Respect Your Seniors
Seniors are like elder siblings, they can be your buddies or extremely disciplined fellas, but they are important and are to be respected. If you are fond of them, it’s easy to respect them. And, even if you are not, always respect them for the knowledge, experience, and expertise they possess because you will take some more time to reach there.
Paid or unpaid, this is your first on job training experience, so make the most of it.