3 Mistakes to Avoid When Landing an Internship Offer

Experience + a degree= success and a job.

According to college career advisors, that’s the formula you have to follow in order to have your best chance at getting a job in the field you desire. And I agree. As a college student, one of the most important things you can do is get relevant experience to make you a well-rounded graduate.

When you get an offer, you feel as ecstatic as Charlie did when he found the golden ticket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Why? Because you made it! Someone saw your potential and picked you out of the applicant pool. May the holy choir sing!

But before you jump at the opportunity or accept, there’s some things you have to think about before saying “yes!” to the offer.  The opportunity to be an intern is amazing, but it a dream that can become a nightmare quickly if you’re not on top of things. Here are five mistakes I learned from that you probably can too:

Mistake #1: Not asking questions or negotiating

One thing I learned this semester is that before you accept any offer, you should hound them with questions. How many hours will you be there? What is the appropriate attire to wear? When is your lunch? What materials do you need to bring? Can you describe a typical workday of an intern? Is it paid or unpaid? Is there compensation for travel expenses? Do not be afraid to ask whatever question that crosses your mind. These questions are so important to ask before you accept an internship offer. Why? If you agree to the position with conditions that you disagree with, then you’ll be locked into a commitment that will make you miserable. I know that these opportunities don’t fall into your lap everyday, but you have to keep your best interests in mind and your well-being.

Mistake #2: Assuming you know everything

Regardless of what you already know before starting the internship, you should have an open mind. Sure, you may be a wizkid with Adobe Premiere Pro, but that coworker (who’s been here longer than you) knows what specific details are expected to be seen in that video. You have to humble yourself and be open to whatever information, guidance, or feedback they’re giving you. I know it may be frustrating to hear someone drone on about something you already know, but get over yourself because there’s more at work than your stubbornness.

Mistake #3: Over-extending yourself

As the new kid on the block, you want to prove that you’re capable of everything… and more. You want to show up and show out by giving it a 110% and doing 6 things at once. Although this is fine, there will come a point where you may fumble at efficiency. You have to realize your limits. When you take on too many hours, assignments and tasks, you’ll end up investing less quality because you bit off more than you can chew (which definitely does not impress the boss). Your supervisor, director, or whoever is in charge will be more impressed by the effort you put specifically into two projects than six assignments that don’t reflect your work ethic.

Happy internship hunting, collegiettes! May the odds be ever in your favor.