Advertising
Advertising

Why “Fake it Till You Make It” Is Poor Intern Advice

Why “Fake it Till You Make It” Is Poor Intern Advice

I recently read a post on Thought Catalog titled “Fake it Till You Make It: The Ultimate Advice for Any Intern.” The title alone says it all: you don’t need to know much to create success as an intern.

The author illustrates some useful pieces of advice, such as the power of networking and knowing the right people. However, she then goes on to say that the only real skill you need to know is “pretending.” If you pretend you know what you’re doing, you’re good at everything in the eyes of your employer and your network.

While this advice could work for the short-term, let me fill you in on something a little more useful: faking it till you make it is poor intern advice. It not only discredits those interns and internship employers who are striving for meaningful experiences, it also doesn’t work very well for you in the broader scheme of things. If you pretend you know what you’re doing, then are thrusted into a situation where you have to be knowledgeable, how will you get from Point A to Point B without embarrassing yourself and your organization?

Advertising

Whether you’re currently an intern or about to embark on your first opportunity, don’t pretend you know what you’re doing—that’s not the point of an internship. Instead, hone your skills, learn from the best, and acquire the knowledge and confidence to where pretending is actually knowing. Here’s how:

1. Seek out better opportunities

It all starts from the beginning. If you seek out better opportunities, you’ll probably have a better experience. Research shows that this comes in the form of paid internships. Paid interns are generally happier, more engaged, and they have an increased shot at getting hired after their program. In fact, 61 percent of paid interns received at least one job offer.

In addition, paid interns have workplace rights, such as protection against discrimination. Unpaid interns are not viewed as employees in the eyes of the law and therefore do not have the same legal rights as paid interns. This means taking on an unpaid internship can open you up to a slew of issues such as sexual harassment and arbitrary dismissal.

Advertising

2. Ask for mentorship and access to executives

When you start your internship, you should immediately begin the process of learning and growing. While faking it till you make it may be the advice you’ve been given, obtaining that real-life knowledge is what interns really want. In fact, 47.3 percent of interns noted that they want mentorship and access to executives. When you have this, you won’t have to fake anything.

At the beginning of your internship, sit down with your employer and ask for real-time feedback on your tasks, your goals, and your overall performance. This provides you with the foundation for a quality career moving forward.

3. Don’t take on a project if you’re not ready

Sure, you could lead a client meeting or perhaps take on more work than you were assigned. However, the quality of your work will suffer if you don’t know what you’re doing. When you’ve perfected your skills and received the right kinds of feedback on your performance, going above and beyond will actually produce great results.

Advertising

In the end, you should feel confident enough in your skills so you won’t have to fake anything. However, if you’re not confident, don’t think you’re weak. There’s nothing wrong with saying that you feel uncomfortable if you counter with the desire to continue the learning process. For example, you could say the following: “While I appreciate the opportunity to do this task, I don’t feel like I have the necessary skills to achieve what you’re looking for. Do you have any suggestions on how I can sharpen my capabilities?”

4. Move forward

If you take the time to secure a mentor, perfect your skills, and know your industry, you’ll have proven your worth. Interns with value move forward, whether it’s an extension of the internship or getting hired. Look, no one is going to give up a good candidate. Your organization is going to keep you or help you to find opportunities elsewhere.

However, you have to take control at some point. Before, during, and even as your internship is coming to a close, establish your desire to stay with the company and to grow professionally with them. This shows your commitment to the company, while showcasing your dedication to your career.

Advertising

Though faking it till you make it can help you in the duration of your program, it doesn’t help you to learn new skills or adequately prepare you for an entry-level job. Take the time to acquire real knowledge during your internship so pretending won’t ever have to be on your radar.

What do you think?

Are you an intern who has pretended to know what you’re doing? Why or why not?

More by this author

What to Look For in Your First Boss Why “Fake it Till You Make It” Is Poor Intern Advice

Trending in Work

1 15 Personal Goals for Work to Help You Succeed 2 8 Impressive Questions to Ask During an Interview 3 6 Secrets Behind Great People’s Invincible Confidence 4 What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out 5 11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 25, 2020

15 Personal Goals for Work to Help You Succeed

15 Personal Goals for Work to Help You Succeed

It’s easy to blend into the crowd at work. The majority of workers choose to settle for mediocrity and anonymity; especially if they work in a large or virtual work environment. It’s much easier to go to work every day and contribute just enough to meet your job’s requirements than it is to leave a lasting impression on your coworkers.

What isn’t easy is standing out.

By setting personal goals for work, you can intentionally work towards getting noticed which will propel you towards getting your dream job.

Do not settle for mediocrity and do not settle for anonymity. Dream big and stand out from the crowd. Here are 15 examples of personal goals for work to help you stand out from your coworkers and lead a successful career.

1. Self-Mastery

Self-Mastery is all about deepening your awareness of your skills, strengths and weaknesses. Once you identify what makes you unique and what you’re most passionate about, use that awareness to develop your skills even further.

Use your awareness of your weaknesses to identify areas of improvement. By practising your self-awareness in these areas, you will demonstrate an ability to self regulate your development and growth.

2. Being Grateful for Where You Are

Take a moment and reflect on how hard you worked to get where you are today.

How many times did you apply to your job? How many interviews did you go through? How many hours have you put in?

You’ve worked hard to get to where you are today. Be grateful of all of the hard work you’ve put in to get you where you are today.

By practising gratitude, you open yourself up to receive what’s next.

Advertising

3. Staying Excited for What’s Next

The perfect vibrational stance to be in to be actively working towards your goals is to practice gratitude for your current situation and to feel excitement for what’s coming next.

Expect better things to come. Anticipate that you will accomplish your goal and that you’re working towards your dream job. Be open to receiving what’s coming your way next.

4. Celebrating Each Others’ Differences

As coworkers, we all bring different strengths to a team environment. Introverts bring deep thought to current issues and extroverts do well in busy meetings and discussions. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an excellent measurement of personality differences and brings an interesting review of your team’s personalities interact with each other.

If possible, request to have an MBTI done with your coworkers so that you can learn more about your similarities and differences; or recognize the differences in your team’s personalities and appreciate that they each contribute different values to the group.

5. Using Your Team’s Differences to Your Advantage

Once you learn more about the different personalities on your team, you can work more strategically with your coworkers. Some coworkers may present as introverts who prefer to take time away to review information before making decisions. Other coworkers may present as extroverts who excel in group discussions and facilitating presentations.

Once you identify the different strengths of your coworkers, you can plan projects and group work according to each other’s personality strengths.

6. Managing Conflicts Effectively

If conflict arises between yourself and another coworker, take time to assess how you’d like to work through the situation rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.

Request a private meeting with the other coworker and present the facts in an objective manner. Initiate a practical conversation to discuss the issue of conflict and then find a mutually-beneficial solution together.

Doing so will show your coworkers and your boss you’re capable of dealing with emotionally-sensitive discussions while keeping a cool head.

7. Becoming a ‘Yes’ Person

Volunteer for new projects and special assignments. Be the first person to put up your hand.

Advertising

If your boss is looking for someone to step up, be the first to volunteer. It shows you’re engaged and gives you the opportunity to learn new skills.

8. Saying ‘No’ When Necessary

This may seem contradictory to the previous point, but this is not!

If you’re close to burnout or have a lot going on in your personal life, choose to say no to additional work if you must.

Be aware of your own mental state of wellness. If you’re incapable of taking on more, say no rather than saying yes and being unable to submit impeccable work.

If necessary, share with your boss privately that you’re not in the right place to take on work but you intend to get back on track and as soon as possible.

9. Showing Humility

It’s not possible to be perfect at everything all the time. If you make a mistake, own up to it.

Let your boss know or coworker know that you made a mistake and you want to correct it. Tell them that you have learned from this experience and you will do things differently going forward.

Practice humility so that you may demonstrate a willingness to do better.

10. Modeling Work Life Balance

Make your own self care a priority so that you’re allocating time out of the office to your exercise, health and nutrition goals.

Carve out time before or after work to taking care of you. Propose walking meetings during the day or try organizing a group fitness classes at lunch. Invite your coworkers to join you in trying a new yoga class.

Advertising

Show your coworkers that you’re committed to work life balance so that you can show up as your best self while at work.

11. Under Promise, Over Deliver

If you commit to finishing a project by a certain time, be certain that you will do what you said you’re going to do when you said you’re going to do it.

Do not commit to completing a project using an unrealistic time frame. If you’re unable to deliver, you will inevitably harm your reputation and will negatively affect others’ expectations of your abilities.

Rather than committing to more than you can accomplish, commit to what you’re capable of or slightly less so that you can over deliver on your promises.

12. Finding Your Own Answers

Rather than quickly turning to your coworkers or your boss when you have questions, do your best to find your own answers.

Review company policies, best practices and previous situations. Use critical thinking to determine how to best handle a situation and demonstrate that you’re able to make sound decisions when it’s required.

After doing your research, present the situation to your boss and share how you would handle the situation. Ask for guidance to see if you’re on the right track. By doing so you’ll demonstrate drive and ambition.

13. Asking for Help

If a situation arises that is above your pay-grade and you must ask for help or guidance, do so with humility.

Respectfully ask your boss or coworkers for their help. Let them know that you are grateful for their assistance and that they’re willing to share their knowledge. Offer to be of assistance to them if it’s needed in the future and repay the favor.

Here’re some tips for you: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So

Advertising

14. Offering Help

If you can see a fellow coworker is struggling, offer to help them out. Offering your help will demonstrate your ability to work as a team player.

If your workplace has hired a new employee, offer to take them under your wing and show them the ropes. Let your boss know that you’d be happy to show them around.

It will demonstrate your seniority in the workplace and your interest in fostering teamwork and morale.

15. Taking a Brain Break Regularly

Take a few moments whenever you can for a mini meditation. In the bathroom, the coffee room, or on the subway on your way to work, take a few deep breaths and center your mind.

Slow down your heart rate and tune in to your inner self. Remind yourself that work can be stressful but we don’t need to let the stress affect us. Return to this grounded and centered state whenever you feel out of alignment.

The Bottom Line

Use this list of personal goals to skyrocket your career path at work. Let your actions speak louder than words.

Demonstrate to your boss and your coworkers that you don’t intend to settle for mediocrity; you intend to stand out from the crowd and will do so by implementing personal goals and actively working towards your dream job.

More Tips About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Read Next