Top three internship mistakes to avoid

Olivia from tells us the top three internship mistakes to avoid.


They loved your CV, you aced the interview and you’re on your way to the first day of your internship. Unfortunately the hard work is just starting. You now have to make sure that you make such a good impression during these two weeks that their reference looks like it was written by your Mum. Take a look at these top internship mistakes to avoid like an 8am lecture…

Not taking it seriously

Some people see internships as a hoop to jump through in order to have the pleasure of putting it on their CV. But it could be so much more than that. If you have no prior work experience, the internship may be the first reference your prospective graduate employer asks for when you apply for a job. It’s seriously important to make such a good impression that the reference will be glowing – particularly if the internship is in an organisation that has the resources to potentially consider you for a graduate position.


Not respecting menial tasks

One issue with work experience is that to begin with you’re often stuck performing menial tasks. For example, one friend of decided to change career aged 25 and, although she’d spent years as a manager in recruitment, had to endure a painful afternoon being taught how to count tea bags in a PR agency. However, it’s really important to perform these tasks well as they are the main way to persuade the employer to trust you with further responsibilities. If you find counting tea bags so boring that you don’t do it properly, the organisation will not trust you to do anything else. Think of it as a responsibility ladder that you have to climb. Perform every task as though it is important, smile and never, ever complain to your employer about doing it.

Taking it personally if they don’t offer you a job

Within corporate organisations such as banks and law firms, internships often have a direct correlation to graduate recruitment. However, smaller organisations may not have the resources to hire you after you graduate, with no reflection on how you performed during the internship. Remember: the potential job at the end is not the only value the internship can bring; it will give you a wealth of knowledge about working in industry, as well as a CV so good it practically sparkles. If you don’t get offered a job, don’t take it personally, and focus on all the positive things you’ve taken away. If you are lucky enough to secure an internship, don’t just consider what it will do for your CV; think of it as a test drive for your future career. You may organise work experience in an industry that you love, only to find out that it’s not for you due to the type of people, work or industry culture. It’s an invaluable chance to try out your career before you decide on it. have launched the National Work Experience Campaign in order to give you all the tools you need to secure the perfect internship, and ace it while you’re there. There’s also a Career Test to help give you a nudge in the right direction if you’re confused about which sector is perfect for you. Take a look today and good luck!

For loads more advice about your future career as well as tasty jobs to apply for, check out