Uni’s out for summer, and for some, that means long summer days stretching into boredom and Netflix binges. Those organised students though, will find themselves with a 9-5 gig, courtesy of a summer internship. How to make the most of it?
Come with ideas
The least successful internships I’ve had are ones where I’ve been sat my desk, twiddling my thumbs or refreshing Twitter with nothing to do. Although you’d hope to be given jobs, it’ll put your new employer at ease if you arrive having done some research, and with ideas for things you could do. Look at your skillset- what do you think you could add to the company’s work?
Don’t expect to rock up and immediately be given all the glamourous, exciting jobs. On one placement, I spent a whole afternoon tracking down escaped cows who’d run onto the town high street- not quite what I was expecting, and not as easy as it sounds! However, it was actually a pretty good laugh that landed me some decent bylines- bylines I wouldn’t have got if I’d turned my nose up, thinking the job was too good for me.
A hundred and one different people will all be telling you the key to getting a job is networking. Annoyingly, they’re right. Be friendly, helpful and polite to everyone and anyone. Meg Jay’s brilliant Ted Talk “Why 30 is not the new 20” hits the nail on the head with her concept of ‘weak ties.’
Networking doesn’t mean becoming best buds with your co-workers, but instead utilising the links around you. Rather than going into every conversation thinking “what can this person do for me,” try to learn from those who are far further ahead in their career than you. It’s the weak ties you form with other interns, that person you sit next to at lunch, that’ll prove useful in years to come.
Treat it as a real job
Yep, it might be an internship on minimum wage, or in some cases, nothing at all, but still act like it’s an actual, official job you’ve signed a contract for. That means turning up on time, sticking to the dress code, and doing what’s asked of you.
Seek out your interests
If you’re enjoying something, you’ll want to work harder! So, you might have discovered you actually hate accountancy…but you have a whole summer internship on it ahead. Instead of languishing in boredom, try to figure out a way you can make it work for you. Maybe the marketing office next door is much more your scene? Be flexible, and see where the summer takes you.