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Internship Mistakes that Students Make

Internship Mistakes that Students Make

Watch out for these internship mistakes that students make.

By Kathryn Knight

March 12, 2009

For many, an internship is the first real job experience—don’t screw it up. Avoid making these mistakes as you apply and interview for internship opportunities.

Not caring. You live in the here and now. It’s hard enough to think ahead four months to final exams let alone to a future career. Internships should be regarded as the cornerstone to the job you will eventually have.

Procrastinating. Summer internships are filling up NOW. Don’t think that in April, you’ll be able to land one just as easy.

Bad grades. Employers aren’t just looking for a warm body to fill in at the “intern desk.” During the interview, they’re evaluating your performance abilities. The greatest indicator of performance for college students is their GPA.

Racing through applications. A summer internship may not be the most important thing on your mind at the moment, but give it the attention it deserves. Check spelling, punctuation, and be sure you have all names or locations correct.

Irrelevant references. Though Grandma can surely vouch for your hard-working and attitude, it’s best that references come from people other than family. There are plenty of “references” in your life: high school teachers, youth group leaders, program directors.

Awkward interviews. You’re applying for a job. Dress like it. Wear slacks and a nice shirt or sweater. Show up on time, bring copies of your resume, speak articulately, and look your interviewer in the eye. And don’t forget to give a good, firm handshake. Maybe your dad can show you the ropes.

Not following up. It’s ok to contact the interviewer after the interview. In fact, it’s best. Send a “thank you” note and call or e-mail the next week to check your status. Avoid badgering the poor woman though—there are other things on her plate.


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