Common Mistakes Interns Make and How To Avoid Them

Common Mistakes Interns Make and How to Avoid Them

By Khadejah Stegall

Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.

Summer internship season is coming soon and many students are either eager or nervous for their first day on the internship. It’s important to realize that your internship is another interview and to avoid mistakes that could cause you burn bridges with others. Below, we share the common mistakes interns make and how to avoid them.The Life Currency also spoke with BET Executive Kai Brown about one common mistake interns make and tell us what makes an intern stand out. Thank us later!

Being intimidated

“A common mistake that interns make is being intimidated/afraid. Interns should always remember that the older staff members were once interns. Your internship is the best part of your career! After all, you are learning practical skills, gaining experience, figuring out what you like or don't like and making lifelong connections.” -Kai Brown, Creative Service Director at BET Networks

How to avoid it: “Don't be afraid to ask questions and work as hard as you can!”


Sometimes things may not work out as you expect, but complaining gets you nowhere. No one wants to work with a negative Nancy and you should be thankful for your internship experience.

How to avoid it: If you see that there is a problem, then you should come up with a solution instead of complaining. Otherwise, it’s best to stay in your place as an intern and not be seen as the intern who complains a lot.

Not taking initiative

You can’t just expect for all assignments to come to you as an intern. Failing to take initiative could lead to you not getting the best out of your internship experience. Managers remember the interns who are actively involved and taking initiative.

How to avoid it: Attend meetings and don’t be afraid to offer ideas. Don’t think that you have to offer a big idea, but anything such as offering to take notes for your manager during a meeting or asking to work on certain projects is very valuable.

Participating in gossip

You don’t want to get caught up in gossip that goes around at your internship’s company. This could be a test to see if you are a messy intern.

How to avoid it: It’s best to walk away. Never add to a conversation when someone is being talked about in a negative way.

Getting too comfortable

You may work at company that has a relaxed culture. While this is great, keep in mind that you never want to get too comfortable. Remember, many people have been at their job for years, so while it may be OK for them to walk in a couple of minutes late, you need to make sure that you are always on time.

How to avoid it: Ask for an evaluation from your manager about your performance and what you can do to improve. Go to your internship on time and always ask others if they need help with any assignments.

Failing to establish valuable relationships

This is a common mistake many interns make because they put on their focus on performance or their intern project. While this is important, you want to make sure you establish valuable relationships with people so they can help you in your future career.

How to avoid it: Set up informational interviews and be sure to speak to everyone even if you don’t think they are relevant to what you want to do. You never know who knows who.

Not doing simple tasks with enthusiasm

You are the intern, so sometimes you will get asked to do menial tasks such as staple papers, get coffee or organize papers. Although the task is small, if you complete the task correctly and with enthusiasm, you will get trusted to complete a bigger task.

How to avoid it: It’s all about your perspective. Look at doing one simple task as a way of earning someone’s trust and strengthening your relationship with that person.

Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at