I have just completed another internship in London, and it was one of the best, and most rewarding, couple of weeks. It has left me with such a clear picture of what I want to do with my future, and I’m so excited. The best part is…they’ve asked me to go back! I thought I’d share some tips for internship success with you, in case anyone is about to start a new internship or work experience and isn’t sure what to expect.
I should probably add that the internships I have done have all been in the television, radio and entertainment realm, but I’m sure these tips apply to most types of internships.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
I think it’s so important, before you start an internship anywhere, to wise up on what the company do. I’m definitely not suggesting you learn all the company’s key dates, like when you went for your first retail interview at Next and had to learn which part of the company was founded when…They won’t care about that. But just make sure you know a bit about what is going on before you head in. It makes you look super interested, and keen.
ENTHUSIASTIC & FRIENDLY
This sounds so utterly obvious, but go in with a good attitude and you’ll hopefully be treated with one back. Complete each task with enthusiasm, and be friendly. I’ve done internships in the past where I’ve been treated quite badly, but I can look back and say I was nothing but polite to them. This hopefully will land you a great reference too!
Make sure you take a notebook with you and take notes when you’re being assigned a task. Last week, I went through reams and reams of paper, making sure I had as much information as possible in my notebook. The more you note down, the less you have to ask in questions…
…That being said, make sure you do ask questions if you don’t know how to do something or can’t remember what was said. Most employees won’t mind, and will be really happy that you want to do a good job and are checking.
TO DO LISTS
To keep organised when you’re on a placement, keep a To Do list. At the start of each day, I would write a list of tasks that needed to be completed that day. This way, you won’t fall behind on any important tasks and you can make sure that everything is crossed off. I love handwriting my lists, but if you prefer to do them on the computer you should check out Wunderlist – it’s an amazing To Do list app that is super easy to use and oh so satisfying to check things off! If you don’t have a Mac, check out Asana – the flying unicorns when you check off enough tasks are ever so rewarding!
TAKE YOUR TIME
Don’t rush any tasks that you’re given – it could come across as you wanting to finish things quickly. Obviously, don’t drag tasks out if you can help it but give everything a decent go. If you think you’ve finished searching Google for every recent article about Orlando Bloom (don’t ask…), switch to Twitter and see what you can find on there.
DON’T PANIC OR BE PHASED
The good thing about being an intern is that no one expects you to know everything. So, when given a task you’re not sure about, don’t panic. Just do your best with it calmly, and you’ll probably end up really impressing your employer. The only way is up as an intern!
DO ODD JOBS WITH PRIDE
noun: 1. Commonly used to describe work that is given to lower level employees to keep them occupied for hours at a time.
The majority of internships I have done, have involved lovely people who have treated me with nothing but respect and kindness. However, I have been subject to ‘bitch work’ during one unpleasant week in London. I was thrown cash and ordered to get lunch without so much as a “thanks”. However, I did it with a smile on my face and as quickly as possible. My point is, you may very well be assigned rubbish jobs that don’t teach you much about the company. See them as a test – impress people by how effortlessly you do them.
Top: Jumper: Monki / Blouse: French Connection / Jeans: H&M / Boots: Office | Bottom: Jumper: Primark / Skirt: Urban Outfitters
My top ‘intern attire’ tip would be to dress super smart for your first day if you don’t know what the dress code is going to be. Obviously, if you’re told it’s smart & suits, wear that. But the term ‘smart/casual’ can be so deceiving. So, on your first day wear something super smart and assess the situation from there. For me, this time round, the dress code was a bit more on the casual side of ‘smart/casual’, so I started dressing more casually. That being said, I didn’t turn up in a baggy sweatshirt. My definition of ‘casual’ is probably a lot smarter than most peoples’. Black jeans & blouses, and skirts & jumpers were my staples.
You don’t quite know what your day will involve, so dress comfortably and my goodness, wear comfortable shoes! The one day you wear heels will be the one day you have to run down the road to pick up a parcel or something. The more comfortable you are, the easier your tasks will feel!