Back in September I quit my retail job I had endured for over 2 years. I knew I wanted to intern for a while and so began my search in hope of finding some that I’d enjoy. Luckily enough, I’ve found a marketing and social media internship that I really like. I had never interned previously so naturally was unsure of what to expect. If you are considering interning, here are 6 things you should definitely know.
You won’t find internships easily.
They’re a whole different ball park than normal jobs. You won’t necessarily find them on job websites and they are few and far between. A simple Google search of ‘Internship + (your location)’ will narrow down your options but don’t stray away from searching on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram either. Companies know that a lot of young people are active on social media and will occasionally advertise internship opportunities on their pages. If that doesn’t work, contacting a company directly is another option. Some companies won’t advertise opportunities such as placements and internships but there is no harm in asking. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
You will be ignored more than you will be turned down.
Having the patience and determination to keep applying when companies won’t respond to you is difficult. It’s even more of a kick in the teeth a few weeks later when the company posts an Instagram with ‘meet our new intern (insert name here)’ with lots of emojis explaining how thrilled they are to have them on board. If a company doesn’t want you, it’s likely they won’t even email you to tell you no. Accept it and keep searching.
You will more than likely have to work for free.
I’d say that the vast majority of internships I’ve seen advertised have been unpaid. Some may offer to cover the cost of your lunch and travel expenses. Don’t be surprised when nobody asks for your bank details to pay you. Not the ideal situation, particularly if you’re not working or a student but that leads me perfectly on to my next point.
The company are sort of doing you a favour.
We’ve all applied for jobs and been told ‘sorry, you just don’t have enough experience’. This is why internships are so unbelievably important. They provide you with experience that companies want. Okay, so you might not be getting paid for whatever it is you are doing but working as an intern will teach you new skills, let you show off yours and it looks more impressive on a CV than a part time retail job. Work hard and try to impress, you’ll thank yourself later that you did.
You won’t be running round after people making cups of tea and coffee.
I don’t know why this seems to be everyone’s preconception. The only person I’ve made tea for during my internship is me. You’re there to integrate as part of a team or work on individual projects and be responsible for different areas of the business, not to act as a Starbucks barista.
No two days will be the same.
Regardless of what kind of internship you signed up for, you won’t just be doing tasks related to that. Chances are, people will need to borrow you as an extra pair of hands depending on the tasks for that day. Be happy to help, always – even if that means starting earlier and staying later or doing 4 tasks at once. You’ll learn new skills and you may just find something you enjoy doing.