Showing evidence of an internship (or a few) on your resume demonstrates you’re dedicated enough to your career plan to sacrifice money for experience. Not only does this impress employers, but when you finally do start getting paid for the work you’re doing it’s even more rewarding!
Having taken on three internships post-University and not just surviving them but landing a permanent role at the end of them all too, I know that internshipsare totally worth putting the hard work into. So, I’ve put together some top tips to help you to impress, to be remembered, and to ultimately get your career off to an ass-kicking start.
How to nail that internship
1. Introduce yourself.
To anyone, anyhow, anywhere. Push yourself to be brave and speak up, because at worst you’ll never see them again and at best you’ll get a job! It’s a win win. And you never know – Kenny the copy guy could turn out to be Ralph Lauren.
It might sound simple but seriously, the amount of interns I’ve met or heard about that do not show their appreciation for the opportunity in any way is somewhat worrying.
3. Show willingness – lots of it.
Thought you’d be doing all the glamorous fun bits of your dream job? Think again. An internship will most likely involve you picking up the jobs that nobody else enjoys, so be prepared for it and be up for the challenge.
4. Go above and beyond.
Complete the task you’ve been set, and then some. Try this: “I’ve done what you’ve asked me to do and I’ve also had a look into this/made some suggestions that I think could be helpful.”
5. Ask questions!
It might feel as though the company are doing you a favour by taking you on, but you’re helping them out too by working for free (remember those jobs no-one else wants to do?) Make the most of your opportunity by learning as much as you can – it will show you are interested too.
6. Be pro-active.
Don’t wait for tasks to come to you; ask what else there is to do, or even better – suggest something you’d be interested in looking into.
7. Prepare your answer.
People are going to ask you what it is you want to do with your life. It’s a terrifying question, especially when you’ve only just finished University (or ever, actually) but being asked it is inevitable, so it’s always good to have something prepared. It needn’t be an absolute certainty and it doesn’t mean you have to stick with it for all eternity, but it does provide your employer with a little more direction when setting your tasks.
8. Remember why you’re there.
Of course it would be awesome to be invited to lunch with the office cool kids, but if you’re not, it’s really really OK. You’re not there to make friends, you’re there to swot up and to learn about the job rather than the people. Sure, a week or month without lunch friends can feel like forever, but ending up in a job you don’t want, that feels like even longer!
Get contacts, note down email addresses, take names for Linkedin stalking – every little helps.
10. Follow up.
Be sure to send a follow up email once your time finishes to show your appreciation for the opportunity and of course to mention that you’re available for work should a vacancy come up!
Sophie French is a blogger and freelance copywriter by day and, well, a blogger and freelance copywriter by night (bills to pay, y’kno!) Currently settling into her transition from PR Manager for the UK’s leading homewares brand to Freelance Copywriter in Australia’s Sunshine Coast, she’s taken note from the bold moves of inspirational women around the world and is newly committed to creating a life she loves.
Favourite things: stationery shops, mugs of milky tea and the sort of belly laughs that only a night with the girls can provide. Beliefs: everyone needs a crazy, fiery, stubborn redhead in their lives, or nothing fun would happen. Fierce quote: “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick some ass” Maya Angelou.
You can find Sophie blogging about the trials and troubles of being a twenty something female here http://www.littleredfrench.com. Or, if you just fancy a chat about the meaning of life or what you had for breakfast, you can drop her an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org