Well well well, if it isn’t the wonderful world of unpaid work, coffee runs and mundane paperwork. You’ve heard it over and over from your Uni, that if you want a post-grad job, you need to get some experience* first.
I can’t stress this enough. Research your options – whether that be talking to people or online, research and find as many options as you can. When you’ve found yourself a good collection of internships, apply for the ones that suck the least. Choose an internship that is relevant to your career path or degree (or at least, something you’re interested in), and one that at least advertises what your day-to-day tasks are. If you land yourself lucky, you might find some paid internships with invaluable experience, which are literal diamonds. These are rare, so jump on them ASAP.
Once you land the position and get settled, set some goals. Some serious ones. If you want to get anything out of this experience, setting goals is probably the most important part. You’ll find very quickly, that in any job or position, it’s essential to know what’s expected of you. You’ll most likely sit down with your employer (if the internship is any good) pretty early on, and this is a perfect time to set some goals. You’ll gain structure and meaning for your internship while also avoiding any unnecessary frustration or conflict.
Complete Each And Every Task
Look, it’s simple. If you’re given a task or assignment, always do it. If you’re struggling or feel like you can’t deliver, talk to your employer about it. But whatever you do, DON’T, for the love of God, throw something in the ‘too-hard’ pile and forget about it. If you’ve been given the shitty mundane jobs, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to do them. If you’re asked to make coffee, make the best damn coffee you’ve ever made.
Read: don’t be a dick. Basically, if you make ANY mistake, own up to it. The thing is, you’re an intern, and not to sound demeaning but you’re allowed to make mistakes. It’s all a part of the learning curve. The key here is to accept responsibility and actually be an adult (*shock*). Taking ownership and articulating possible solutions will allow for a faster resolution of the issue.
Talk, Talk, Talk
Okay, unless you’re going to get called out for it, make as many connections as you can. Don’t be shy. Reaching out and gaining contacts can work in your favour, especially if you’re in the right environment. This can help your future career or even social life. Speaking from experience, I’ve made some pretty great pals along the way.
Above all, make the most out of your time there, and if you’re seriously lucky it’ll lead you to a full-time position come graduation. Work your ass off and don’t be afraid to speak to everyone around you.
Image Source: 20th Century Fox