Internships dos and don’ts

So you’ve got the internship – now what?

First of all well done on securing your internship!

Once you’ve finished celebrating, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to make the most of this opportunity and avoid making mistakes that could affect your chances of being hired again.

Here’s a quick list of dos and don’ts to help you stay focused:


  • Contact your new line manager before starting – Let them know that you’re looking forward to working with them and find out what you need to prepare and bring with you on your first day. Also ask about dress code – although it’s always best to dress smartly on your first day to create a good impression.
  • Plan your journey – Sounds obvious but too many people end up at the wrong office or turn up late because they didn’t leave the house early enough. Take their address, phone number and ideally a printout of a map (in case your phone decides it wants to be uncooperative 10 minutes before you’re supposed to be there). Try to leave half an hour earlier than you think you will need.
  • Greet everyone – From CEO to receptionist – formally and daily. Courtesy and respect go a long way in business.
  • Ask questions – Ignorance isn’t stupidity. Employers like inquisitive employees as it demonstrates interest and instills them with confidence about how you approach things.
  • Stay positive and proactive – Get involved in tasks, offer to help colleagues, suggest things you could be doing with your line manager. Take an active part in team meetings and share ideas where appropriate. You will be remembered positively and, at the very least, get a glowing reference!
  • Get involved in social activities – Go for lunch with colleagues, invite people out for a drink, sign up for corporate sports teams etc. Will this cut into your time with your friends? Yes, of course. Do it anyway. These days employers hire based on attitude as much as skill sets. They want someone who wants to be there.

student 3


  • Bring your weekend/holiday attitude with you on a Monday or be too keen to rush out of the door on a Friday – It won’t help you get ahead. Employers want committed and passionate employees.
  • Be late – ESPECIALLY after a night out, either one with colleagues or one with friends that your colleagues know about.
  • Think you aren’t presenting just because you aren’t speaking – Do NOT take out your phone or other mobile device in meetings. Show interest in the speaker. Take notes. That’s it.
  • Gossip/over-share – People who participate in gossip and/or are quick to share stories about last Saturday night aren’t ready for a leadership position. People may laugh, but they notice. Don’t do it.
  • Be negative about your employer – Avoid talking negatively about your boss, employer or colleagues in person or on social media. It will get back to them and it may get you sacked.
  • Dress down on Fridays – if your boss doesn’t. Play by the rules of the team you’re in.

Consistency is key – you don’t want to start strong only to fade away, nor do you want to be scrambling to undo a bad first impression.

Keep the three Ps in mind – Stay positive, proactive and professional and you will be totally fine!


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