7 Things No One Told You About Interning

The experience of starting a new internship can be frightening.

Every work environment is different and every company will vary with their policies and procedures. Even with thorough preparation, there may be a few questions you still have or issues you are unsure of. Here are a few tips from professionals that you may not have been told about interning but are important to know:

1. Avoid Gossip

Be very careful with the types of conversations you participate in. PRSSA 2012-2014 National Professional Adviser Don Egle, APR, senior director of communications for James Madison University, recommends removing yourself from any company gossip. Excuse yourself when these types of conversations start and do not repeat anything you hear. Careers can sink because of gossip.

2. Authenticity Wins Out

Egle explains employees should “always be sincere and never condescending or disingenuous.” People and coworkers can tell when you are being fake and it can make you seem untrustworthy.

3. Use Respectful Language

Use language that is appropriate for the workplace with an emphasis on respecting those around you. Even if your boss and colleagues use curses or derogatory words, be professional and try your best not to use inappropriate language.

4. Display Optimism & Positivity

Optimism goes a long way. Have a great attitude and smile! Even on the long days, try to be a positive team member. This will benefit both you and your teammates.

5. Avoid Office Politics

Never play the office politics game. It will always backfire. Stay out of the politics and office drama.

6. Contribute Important Ideas

Marisa Vallbona, APR, Fellow PRSA, president of CIM Incorporated, advises to “be a good listener and only speak if you have something meaningful to add to the conversation.” Contribute to the conversation, but do not repeat things that have already been said. Add new meaning and ideas.

7. Propose Solutions When Problems Arise

Nick Lucido, PRSSA Immediate Past President and an account executive for Edelman, suggests workers should “propose a solution or recommendation when asking questions. This demonstrates your ability to solve problems and develop solutions.” Don’t add to the problem, but propose solutions and actual ideas.

Even if you want to “fit in” in your office setting, hold your standards high as an individual and as an intern. Do not make yourself stand out in a negative way by trying to be a part of office drama, politics and other problems. Instead, stand out by contributing meaningful thoughts to conversation, being ethical, staying positive and adhering to company policies and you will have a successful internship.

What secrets do you wish you had known about interning? What advice would you give to someone starting out in a new office environment?

This is a guest post from the Vice President of Public Relations Lauren Gray.

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One Response to 7 Things No One Told You About Interning

  1. Carly April 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    This was a very helpful and informative post. Students interning are constantly seeking out new information that could be beneficial to their interning process, or maybe just a simple piece of advice that will put them at the top of the list for a potential job. My favorite tip was “Authenticity Wins Out”. I think that this is key for interns because sometimes you can get swept up in the moment and start talking about what you think your superior might want to hear instead of what you actually think or feel about a certain situation. Honesty and integrity are two of the most important things that I think about in work place situations and I think you did a good job highlighting this.

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