Posted on 01 June 2018 by Rebecca Sander
1) Be selective
Know what you want. All too often internships are an exploitation of young people desperate to work, so before going in, be selective about the kind of internship you want to do, what would benefit you most, and what you want to learn by the end of it. You’ll still spend a lot of time getting coffees and delivering packages but if you have one eye on the prize from the beginning you’re more likely to glean some knowledge.
2) Know your rights
Internships are the best way for companies to get free labour, and some of them are absolutely awful. There are organisations out there like We Run This Interns who can give you all the information you need about what some one can legally ask of you as an intern, so do a little research and make sure you’re only giving as much are you’re willing.
3) You can say NO
Don’t compromise your morals or your identity in order to get something on your CV, if they’re asking you to do something you’re not comfortable with you are allowed to tell them, and you are also allowed to walk away if it’s too much. It’s not like you’re losing any money, right?!
4) No one will care about you
Internships will start with people encouraging you to pitch and saying how valuable your ideas are and end with a stressed out editor giving you a soft maybe and asking you to so some formatting for the website. If you’re lucky your internship will
involve you doing something actually creative but most of the time it’s grunt work no one else wants to do. At internships I’ve done people aren’t that bothered about making you feel welcome, because the turnover is so constant you will be replaced by another shiny-faced servant in another month. Try not to take is personally and if you can change the cycle and break through you will know you’ve made an impression.
5) Get ready to network
Your internship may not necessarily lead to a job but you have an opportunity to get some great contacts within your industry. As I said, a lot of the time no ones that fussed about making friends with the intern but if you can get some one to pay attention to you it can prove useful down the line. Creative industries are small circles and having “friends on the inside” can put a wedge in a door for you.
6) Comfortable shoes
First day interning at a fashion magazine can have you reaching for your most impressive lewk but you will spend a lot of your day on your feet. Luckily trainers are in fashion right now so you should be okay but put comfort first and your feet will thank you
7) Say goodbye on your way out
A slightly mixed story here: as I was leaving an internship I said goodbye to everyone and thanked them for the opportunity, except for the editor because I assumed he had no idea who I was having barely spoken to me all month. He spots me slinking off and invites me in and offers me a job. The job later on fell through, but the lesson is if you don’t ask you don’t get, and if you don’t stick your head into the editors office and say you’ve really enjoyed working at their mag then you don’t get anything. Which is what I ended up with in the end, but ignore that part.
8) Ask for feedback
It’s all been a bit pointless if you don’t know what you’re getting right or wrong. After your internship has ended, send a polite follow up email asking how they felt you did and if they have any advice. They may not reply, but if they do, it can be invaluable in helping you secure your next internship, or hopefully, actual paid job.
We want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts below, tweet us at @eric_festival or instagram us at @ericfestival!