Internships are awesome. I know others have made that case here over and over already, so I won’t repeat stuff you’ve probably already heard.
If you are in school or have just finished school (and you haven’t already) you should definitely do an internship. If you don’t you’re a dork. You’re a dork because, if you don’t do an internship, you’re missing a huge opportunity.
But here’s the thing, a lot of students spend tons of time and energy to get situated to do an internship – but then show up on the first day of their internship totally unprepared. Why? Because of lot of schools don’t teach students anything about the working world.
Don’t get me wrong, I love school. It’s just that often very well-meaning teachers and professors don’t teach their students squat about the working world. Why? Well, I’m sorry to say, many folks in academia don’t have a lot firsthand working world experience themselves.
So what happens? Instead of gaining the specialized knowledge they expect to learn, students go into an internship and spend the majority of their time learning basic work/office skills. By the time the master the basics of work, the internship is over.
Don’t let this happen to you. Before you go into an internship, learn the basics. The only difference between a seasoned professional and a student straight out of college is that the seasoned professional just knows some things the newbie hasn’t learned yet. But becoming a seasoned worker need not be some sort of mystical process; all knowledge is teachable and therefore learnable.
So, if you feel moisture behind your ears and are one of those newbies about to start an internship, find a seasoned professional (the grumpier and caffeinated, the better) and ask them what they know .
Ask them something like, “what is the most annoying things you see when it comes to work habits of people just out of school?” Trust me, it’ll get them going. Write down what they say and take it to heart. Do some thinking about how you can be a slightly more mature worker, even though you’re brand new to the working world.
If you do, you will stand out as a rock star among all your other intern colleagues on your first day. Instead of getting bogged down with learning Work 101, you’ll be ready to dive into the good stuff.