How to get the most from your Internship
Internships are absolutely crucial to gain contacts, make your CV and portfolio more impressive and to get an insight into the career you want to pursue. I've done several internships and they've all helped me gain confidence in my abilities and motivated me to keep pursuing my long-term career goals. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1) Be persistent (but not to the point of intrusive): your application email may go straight to the bottom of the employer's inbox so, if you haven't heard back after a few days make sure you phone or email again. It shows eagerness and enthusiasm but leave a few days between correspondence so you don't come across too persistent.
2) Be clear: know exactly what you want to get out of the internship and what you hope to achieve. This will help the company you are applying for identify where would suit you best and also shows you have really thought the importance of an internship through.
3) Be precise: check and double-check the spelling and grammar of your CV, cover letter and application email or form. Read it out loud to make sure it sounds professional and clear enough to impress the employers straight away – first impressions are everything.
4) Curate examples of your past work: make sure that this is presented in a clear format and only include pieces that would be relevant and appropriate for your target audience.
5) Apply early: get writing those emails and filling out the forms as soon as possible. Most internships will be highly competitive, especially around the holidays so make sure that you’re organised and efficient. Don't be disheartened if you don't get the first ones you've applied for, apply to any internship that interest you to improve your chance of being selected.
When you get there:
1) Make a good first impression: dress appropriately, arrive early and introduce yourself to everyone in the office as early as possible. Be polite, friendly and keen to throw yourself into anything they hand you.
2) Be enthusiastic and willing: even if you are given menial tasks like getting coffee or delivering the mail, do it efficiently and don't complain or despair – you never know what it could lead to! It's important to get along well with the team you're working with to build good working relationships and contacts so something as small as making them a quick cuppa is a simple way to do this.
3) Ask for work to do: quite often everyone will be so busy working that they may forget to give you tasks but don't take this personally and don't be afraid to ask for something to do. You might actually get them at the perfect time when they need help on an interesting project and if not, showing willing looks much better than just sitting around looking bored.
4) Come with original ideas: these can help your boss or the team you'll be working with and it's an easy but great way to impress your boss straight away. If it's a good idea they might let you work on a project so that you can skip the photocopying and tea making!
5) Ask for a reference: don't be shy, references will be invaluable when applying to future jobs and internships so be sure to ask your boss when you're there. Make sure that your boss knows exactly who you are and what you've contributed to the team whilst working for them.
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Posted on 7th November 2014 by Elinore Court.
Elinore Court lives at Liberty House in London, she is studying a masters degree in Magazine Journalism at City University.