6 Mistakes Interns in S’pore Often Make That Cost Them a Full-Time Position

You know how the story goes, right? There are two kinds of interns in Singapore today: those who get an internship with a prestigious company and hope to get a job there after graduation and those who don’t really care.

If you belong to the former, chances are you’ll take this seriously because if you commit any of these 6 mistakes, you’re guaranteed never to get a job with them ever again.

Or at least until they forget about you, which might take a pretty long time. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive but what I think are the worst to make because plenty of interns have made them. Don’t be the next one.

You assumed instead of asking

It could be our upbringing, or it could be our innate shyness but most of the times, we are used to keeping our questions to ourselves and try to make do with whatever patchy information we’re working with. If you’re lucky, you’ll do an okay job which is nothing impressive, and if you’re not, you’ll screw up big time and leave a huge mess.

Internships are the best times to ask questions because you’re there to learn. No one will fault you for asking questions, and stupid questions are questions that were asked and answered before for you.

You go to work expecting to be spoonfed (a.k.a you don’t take initiative)

This applies to all of us, no matter whether we be the strawberry generation, durian generation or whatever generation the old people has come up for us. We’re used to be in comfort, and we’re used to be spoonfed (remember how our teachers did the hard work and found all the questions that are likely to come out at the end of year exams in the TYS for us?).

Your reporting officer or supervisor is paid to get work done and not to be there to cater to you. Ask for work, request to learn, give your 110% and you’ll see it paying off (maybe) after graduation.

You complained instead of asking questions

Let’s be honest here. When you enter the working world, you’ll realise that people aren’t that nice, bosses aren’t that understanding (hi boss, you very the understanding and very the fat) and work isn’t that easy. Sometimes, you might feel that you’re unable to handle the workload, or you’re not getting paid enough to do the things you’re doing. Some might have the courage to request a meeting and vent their frustrations on their superiors.

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Don’t do that, because it’s GG for you if you do so. Instead, frame your complaints into questions instead and listen to their side of the story. And as an added bonus, they’ll know that you’re unhappy, and even if the situation hasn’t improved for you throughout your internship, at least you know their impression of you isn’t of a spoiled brat, but someone who’s adaptable, understanding and willing to listen to reason.

You are not observant enough

You have to remember that you’re no longer in school, and no one will call you out on your mistakes anymore because, well, why should they? They’re not your friends, nor are they are your teachers. Observe people’s behaviour around you and observe their reactions to your work or your words.

There are plenty of supervisors who may not be happy with you, but they won’t call you out on it because you’re just an intern and it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, they will just countdown to the day that you’re leaving and tell you good riddance silently within their minds while waving you off with a smile.

You are not professional enough

Don’t expect to be forgiven for any unprofessionalism such as turning up late or browsing through Facebook or replying WhatsApp when you’re supposed to be working, simply because you’re still a student.

If they see your resume in front of them a few months later, expect them to remember your unprofessionalism and not your identity. But there’s a plus side: if you are able to be professional even as an intern, it’ll make you even more impressive. And if you showed that you’re trying, they’ll go easy on you because hey, you’re still a student but at least you showed initiative to try.

You don’t play the game

The working world comprises of two parts: your work and office politics. Your work, of course, has to be exemplary, but another part of an internship is to get contacts or network within the organisation. You know what they say, right?

Getting into your dream job today isn’t just about what you do, but who you know.

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You want to be in a job that has no office politics, with everyone, including your customers and clients, loving you?

Go sell ice-cream.

If not, come back to reality and work on it. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.


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