Be an Intern but…

Career Focus - Be an Intern

Be an Intern but…

This is the start of my monthly Career Focused posts. Please check them out.

I have been lucky enough to intern at a few great companies, who understood that I needed to eat. I have however also interned at a couple that taught me nothing, that for the short time I was there, I learnt how to photocopy, file and my personal favourite tidy cupboards. Now please don’t for a second think I’m ungrateful for the experience but I had university friends sitting in on meetings, having proper mentors who explained as much as he/she could. I learnt no more than when I went in.

Maybe I was unlucky but I was thinking about as an Intern what we should get out of the experience. Here are a few tips if you find yourself in a similar situation.

1. Ask Questions – You are there to figure out if it’s the job or the industry you want. Don’t be shy ask questions.

2. Do everything with a smile and an enthusiastic manner – People are more open if you smile and seem happy to be there.

3. Offer – Ask around if anyone needs help, support, I did a beer run once! It shows keenness and you learn things along the way.

4. Hit deadlines – If you are given a deadline try to keep to it. If you struggle, be honest. I was too embarrassed and muddled along to find the someone else did it anyway.

5. People are busy, if you see a way to help offer – we all come from different backgrounds. Experiencing different things can be a great benefit.

6. Talk to people – have a chat while making a coffee. See someone walking out for lunch, strike up a conversation. Contacts are key these days and you could just talk to that one person who remembers you.

7. Don’t be afraid to say you are struggling – as mentioned I suddenly lost my confident self and struggled to hit a deadline. I was more embarrassed when I handed it over to find someone else had done it. (Facepalm)

8. Be on time and don’t be in a rush to leave – not much to say really that isn’t obvious.

9. Socialise on a personal level – I was kindly invited out a couple of times but declined and I later felt that I should have gone, spoke to people on a personal level and not just professional. I’d go for it now but you live and learn.

10. Make contacts – Add people to LinkedIn. These could be for reference purposes or future job opportunities but probably not facebook.


Just a few things I’ve learnt. Internships really are an amazing thing on a cv. It shows that you not only have the degree but also the industry experience but unfortunately, there are still companies who don’t pay, pay peanuts or count it as work experience and think they don’t have to pay! Please consider these things. I had a mixture of expenses, paid and work experience. One month, by all means, consider your options, one year with only expenses or my personal favourite ‘commission-based’. Things are changing as I’ve seen minimum wage mentioned recently.

Has anyone got anything to share, horror stories or an amazing experience? Please drop me a comment, I would love to hear them.

Thank you for Reading…

Gem x

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