By Leoni Jay, author of ‘#Interns – we do more than make coffee’ available to download from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1imDTQa
The word ‘internship’ has become so engrained in our vocabulary, daily conversation, and office chit chat that it’s hard to imagine a time when the term was less likely to prominently linger in the minds of students, graduates, employers and even parents. From a young person’s perspective, the intensity and pressure to secure a decent and suitable form of work experience is only increasing in nature, but let me take this opportunity to highlight the usefulness of a therapeutic deep breath. It will all work out just swell.
When I entered, let’s call it, the ‘internship arena’, I was 20 years old and in between my second and third year of university. Initially uncertain of what interesting adventures with which to fill my four-month summer, I was inspired to find an internship after completing a Career Development Course at university, which included an incredibly useful 45-minute session detailing the value of work experience. I decided to travel to Los Angeles to pursue an internship, given my fondness for the entertainment industry and the US as a whole. I found the experience to be so memorable, positively challenging and character building, that I made the decision to repeat my time in the States the following year.
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I had the opportunity to work on the red carpet, interview influential Hollywood figures, write stories for international websites, travel the country and meet some incredible people. In fact, the experience resounded so prominently in my daily life that I decided to write ‘#interns’, the ultimate internship guide that details my time working in America, along with my advice to those starting the process, interviews with past interns, and an outline by three multinational companies of their perspectives on internships.
Having four international placements under my belt, my current goal is simple. I aim to provide useful advice and helpful information to those entering the metaphorical jungle of the work experience world. Isn’t clarity a wonderful notion? Well, below I introduce the key considerations I believe you should follow when embarking upon your internship journey.
I cannot emphasise enough how imperative good organisation is when it comes to the internship search. Allowing a sufficient timeframe to plan and prepare will significantly reduce the stress that can potentially accompany a job search. This is especially important if you’re planning to travel abroad. Give yourself a set day a week to search and apply for a couple of positions; the process becomes much less daunting and way more manageable!
The discussion of intern pay is currently on an international scale. Companies far and wide are facing legislation and legal battles regarding providing a salary for their employed interns. I had to fund my entire US trip, and didn’t receive any pay or expenses. Frustrating as it was, it’s another reason why strategic planning is so vital. If you are seriously considering interning, the good news is that it’s possible to save enough to sufficiently support yourself for a couple of months with no pay. The majority of companies today, however, usually offer some form of reimbursement in return, be it a free lunch or travel expenses!
The Job Search
Ah, the job search – sifting through all those posts to seek those nestled hidden gems. Sounds all too familiar? The best advice I can offer is not to limit your resources. Yes, the internet is great for job searching, but a host of other avenues exist and are just waiting for you to explore! Twitter is full of companies and people seeking interns – just perform a simple search and you will find quite an extensive list. The same goes for LinkedIn, and networking in general. Ask people you know, or people they might know, if there is an intern position going at the company where they work. There is also the option of cold calling organisations, contacting them to enquire about possible work experience placements. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone either; a human voice goes a long way, especially with employer inboxes filling up by the minute. This option allows for a more immediate response – one which you can later follow up by email.
Passion and Dedication
I’d advise that you apply for the roles that suit and match your skills and interests. After all, you are the one who will be interning at a company, and you should most definitely enjoy your placement! If you have an interview for an internship, ensure you demonstrate your passion for the position, drawing from past examples to highlight your capability to fulfil the role with confidence and excellent flair. An internship is an opportunity to learn, grow and challenge yourself, and it’s all the more worthwhile if you walk away from the post feeling that you enjoyed the overall experience at a company. You never know, you may end up working there in a permanent role one day!
‘#interns – we do more than make coffee’ is filled with many more useful tips and personal insights I discovered during my internship journey and is available to download from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1imDTQa
Now Read More on the topic of Internships:
- Is It Really Simple To Ban Unpaid Internships?
- Doing Internships While You’re Still A Student Is Invaluable Experience
- Sign of the Times: Successfully Juggling Multiple Internships
- Virtual Internships: A Love Story