Ah, internships. It’s not a great experience sometimes and I have vivid memories of being one in 2014. The working world is tough and employers are a lot to handle.
How did I even come across this subject? Twitter user @nigeltpatel asked about advice re: interning.
Please be on time and present at work. They can tell when you don’t care. Do the work and ask as many questions as you can. https://t.co/rliDhgA7mK
— Alyx (@bye_alyx) November 11, 2017
I answered the question as concisely as possible, but soon realised I had a lot to say about the topic. I’ve been on both sides – an intern and a manager. It’s tough on both parties involved, but for the most part I came out unscathed. Internships are starting points for your career but they’re also where a lot of exploitation occurs.
So I compiled a list of things to note if you’re starting out:
Update your CV
Make sure you have a decent CV or that you get a family member or friend to look over it. It’s the first impression you get to make to any employer, so it needs to look pristine. Even if you don’t have a ton of experience, presenting it in a way that’s easy to read and understand, is sure to make potential employers notice.
Please be on time
Rule number one: Don’t be late to your interview! Just don’t do it.
The working day continues whether you’re there or not. If you land the position, please communicate when you’ll be late. If you have a manager who understands how unpredictable public transport is, it should be okay to share why you’re late. Being on time also displays what kind of full time employee you’ll be, because whether you like it or not – everyone at the company is watching. It’s also stressful for your supervisor who has to report back to why you’re not there. Especially if they hired you and believed in your capabilities.
Do the work
Adjusting to a working schedule can be tough and tiring. But you’re there to learn some skills and you might as well take advantage of the situation. You’re hired to do a job, please do it. Maybe get some stuff for your portfolio and gain some skills for a future position, even if you don’t stay at the company. Of course, there are higher ups who might take the credit for your ideas as well. People are horrible, I hope that doesn’t happen to you.
We love an outspoken/innovative intern (at least I do). The youths are smart, and totally plugged in to what’s happening right now. I really appreciated fresh ideas or suggestions because most times I was overworked to think about new things. I make sure people were credited and felt affirmed because working is hard. And that’s literally the right thing to do, tf?
Don’t be shy to ask for references
If you think you made a great impression, don’t forget to ask said manager for a reference. You did the work and it’s always great to have that as part of your portfolio. It also broadens your network for future positions. Hopefully, you get hired for a full-time job!
And as manager or supervisor, you need to let them breathe and do some things on their own. It’s how I learnt most of my skills. Once they leave your charge, they’re grown humans who will continue to evolve beyond that point. But you were one step in their working journey and that’s pretty cool.
For some context – I went from an intern to a content producer to a social media manager in about two years. I got to be part of the hiring process, set up a training program and impart knowledge for close to a year. I wanted to create an affirming space for young black/brown femmes to showcase their brilliance and I think I did that?
I hope this helps and good luck with interning!