Internships are an ideal opportunity to learn about the industry in real-world experiences. Of course, you won’t know everything about public relations and, as a student, no one expects you to. But there are a few big but easily fixable mistakes you might be making at your internship.
- Not asking questions. You may feel like asking your supervisor a question makes it seem like you don’t know what you’re doing. NOT true! Asking a question when you don’t understand an assignment or an industry term (i.e.: “trade pubs”) shows that you are ready to learn and willing to make sure you get the most from your internship.
- Not paying attention to other departments. Even when a meeting or assignment doesn't concern your department, pay attention to what’s going on. Everything that happens within the organization or company will likely have a trickle-down effect, influencing work you may be given.
- Not asking for feedback. Sometimes supervisors either don’t think to give feedback or simply forget. When an office gets hectic and a press release need to be written quickly, it’s hard for them to remember to stop and work with their intern. Asking for feedback shows that you want to learn and are invested in your internship experience.
- Waiting for assignments. Supervisors may not think to be continually giving you assignments which may leave you sitting, twiddling your thumbs. But speaking up and asking if there’s any additional work, even if it’s for a different department, demonstrates your commitment to your internship. It will also help you learn more about the organization. Running to get coffee for the HR department may not be very prestigious but at least now you know when the HR office is!
Even if you are guilty of a few of these internship sins, they’re simple fixes! An easy way to ensure you aren't making these common intern mistakes is to treat your internship like a full-time, permanent job.