5 Questions Interns Are Never Told To Ask

Interns are given a lot of advice, but one topic that is consistently brought up is the importance of asking questions. Many of the questions that interns are encouraged to ask relate to how they can do more, see more, and get more from their internship experiences. While these things are important, and those questions should be asked, there are other burning questions that should not remain in the dark.
1. Could I take on less responsibilities during the day?
This question may seem absurd, interns are expected to be fully there, and accomplish as much as possible. But the fact is, especially in this day and age, interns are working for free – volunteering their time and efforts because they want to learn and grow. These interns are normally full time students with part-time or even full-time jobs and other responsibilities. If an intern feels that they are being given more work than their volunteer status should have, he or she should feel comfortable speaking up.
2. Could I be compensated for travel expenses?
Internship postings usually state right off the bat whether or not they are paid or unpaid. While an organization may not be able to compensate you hourly or by providing a stipend, some may be able to assist with travel costs. Interns may be eligible to receive free or discounted parking, or funds towards the costs of public transit.
3. Is there a policy for calling out or leaving early?
Part of interning is setting aside the time to show up and truly be there. However, when you are a full time student with other responsibilities, sometimes you may have to forego hours in the office to fulfill other commitments – such as studying for an exam or picking up extra hours at work. In these situations, it is helpful to know if your internship has a policy for absences, or if they allow interns to work remotely.
4. Could I be introduced to X person?
Internships provide the perfect platform for students to truly grow and develop their networks. A good intern knows who does what within their organization and what contacts those people have. Asking your boss to introduce you to someone, even if it is just via email, should not be an unsettling question. Simply ask politely, and let your boss know why this introduction or meeting is important to you and your professional development.
5. Will I be expected to complete assignments outside of the office on my off days?
We are always told to ask what our supervisors will expect when we are on the job, but rarely do we ask about other expectations they may have. There will be times when projects come up suddenly, and your boss could expect you to help out even if you aren’t scheduled to come into the office. It is important to ask up front about outside work, especially if you know that you may not be able to meet this expectation due to other commitments.
As an intern, you should always feel comfortable vocalizing any questions or concerns that you have. Do not expect that something is “the norm.” If it doesn’t feel quite right – ask about it. Remember to always be polite and professional, and open with your superiors. In the end, they will respect you more for taking an active role in your professional development.

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