Superman might have only one weakness, but there’s a multitude of ways for an intern to crash and burn, destroying any chance of landing a full-time gig. What follows is a list of seven ways to obliterate your job prospects with a single blunder. Read closely and act carefully.
Drinking While Interning
No one will remember the great job you did on a project or the novel idea you came up with if there’s a better memory of you drunkenly asking a coworker “for a nightcap” or throwing up on your project manager. You have a right to a social life, including getting a drink with coworkers—as long as you’re 21, of course. But proceed with caution wherever alcohol and work mix.
Your coworkers might be dishing it out, but it’s best to turn a deaf ear to gossip. You’re new on the scene and can’t afford to get caught up in the crossfire of office politics.
See also Become A Super Intern: 25 things to do to have a successful internship
Head In The Clouds
It’s bad to get caught flat-footed by your professor and even worse by your boss. Doodling or daydreaming during meetings will attract negative attention right off the bat. If you have to be brought back to reality during meetings, there’s no way you’ll be brought back after your internship.
Mind your language and subject matter in emails to coworkers and supervisors. An email with the f-word to a fellow intern could get forwarded to the CEO. No matter how funny that forward from your uncle is, it’s best to have a chuckle and then chuck it.
Take note of what your office mates wear and make sure you’re on par: Don’t sport wedge sandals if the other women are wearing closed-toe heels every day. Even if you see supervisors taking business casual to new levels, wait for a formal go-ahead before you break out the muscle shirts. If you look the part, it’ll be easier for management to picture you fitting in full time.
PDA use might be part of your regular assignments, but limit your use to professional duties.
“I look at an internship as an audition,” said Natalie Lundsteen, a doctoral candidate at University of Oxford researching internships. That means playing iPhone games or rudely texting while being given instructions could have your supervisor sending you the famous digital kiss-off, “kthnxbai.”
Missing In Action
Chronic lateness or absence is a near-certain intern killer, especially if you don’t provide notice. The way you notify your supervisors matters, too. Phone calls are the most forthright. Sending a text isn’t typically appropriate. Even leaving a voicemail is kind of weaselly.
And be mindful of background noise when you call: Lundsteen tells the story of an intern who called to say he wouldn’t be in while audible flight announcements in the background clued off he wasn’t sick in bed.