Everything you need to Know about Internships

Posted by | July 24, 2013 | Tips for Interns

Today is my final day at my Internship at Xperience.ie and so this means my final blog. During my time at this internship I have gained a lot of experience, not only did I gain some key skills for the digital media industry, I gained some key life skills too.

I am going to tell you my story from how I got the internship to what I have learned. This will give anyone looking for an internship an insight into the real world of internships and not just what everyone imagines it to be like. As this is my last blog I am going to have some fun with it. So take a look at my story and learn something along the way.

My Search

I recently finished my final year studying Media & Public Relations. I started searching for internships back in February and I started my current internship once my exams were over at the end of May. Yeah I know what you are thinking – “it took her a long time to find an internship“. I’m not going to lie: it did but it was worth it.

I searched high and low for an internship that suited me. I did my research on each company I was applying for and boy was that worth it! I looked at some of the job description and I thought: “Oooooh this one looks good!“. Unfortunately, once I did my research I found out: “nope that internship is not for me!“. I really wanted to make sure I was going to get something I was really interested in, after all I was going to work for free!

I uploaded my CV to online services, I googled different jobs everyday and I was consistent with this. Consistency is the key. I got onto all my social media platforms and I started tweeting, re-tweeting, liking…. you get the idea. I used hash tags in my tweets such as #experience #internships and #social media.

What I Found

I got several responses and I was over the moon, but don’t get too excited – they didn’t work out. I accepted 2 offers: one for a fashion PR job and another from a PR firm with many clients. The first job never rang back to give me my starting day. The other internship was one where I could work from home. I got my first task and I believe I did it well, I got no response after that. I thought to myself “ahh hear they’re taking the mickey“, so I started looking once again. The main point here is don’t give up your search. Some companies might take advantage or waste your time but don’t let this put you down. Dust yourself off and start again – after all it’s not easy to climb to the top, we all have to start somewhere.

The Interview

Xperience.ie saw one of my tweets and contacted me and we arranged an interview. I have to say interviews have never phased me. I was blessed with the gift of the gab and I never get nervous. I believe that this is the key to interviews. Don’t be nervous, easier said then done, I know. Just be yourself and know your stuff and if they don’t like you, it’s their loss and you probably wouldn’t like to work for them anyway.

Treat the interview as a conversation with an acquaintance and not like a friend. You don’t know this person well so there are some boundaries that need to be set. You are not going be saying to your potential employer “OMG did you hear about ya one”… say what you would say to an acquaintance. I heard something very interesting about a women who…. Remember keep it relevant to whatever topic you are talking about. Keep the conversation as natural and professional as possible. If you are natural in your conversation  it shows you are real and not a robot programmed to answer generic questions… (robot voice) I think I would be good for this job because I am a good robot. When you have a natural conversation it will make you feel more at ease.

The Internship

I started my internship at Xperience.ie  at the end of May. On my first day I worked together with my boss Rodolfo. We set out goals on what we wanted to achieve. We both worked together on this, which was pretty cool because I got a say in what I wanted to learn.

I also have part time job,which I mentioned to him in the interview. We worked out a schedule together so my internship and my job wouldn’t clash. He was very aware that I was working for free and that I needed to make money some way. So make sure your employer is aware of this. Don’t be afraid to ask the internship to be flexible. Your employer is well aware that money doesn’t grow on trees and that you have to make money somehow. What is the worst that could happen? They say no, then you move on.

 

The following week another intern, Darren, started. We worked on different aspects of the business together, but we both had different tasks to do. We worked well as part of a team. We helped each other out when we were stuck on a task or stuck for ideas. If neither of us knew what to do we asked Rodolfo and he was happy to help. You’re an intern and you’re going to need some help – so don’t be afraid to ask. It is better to ask and do a job well rather then not ask at all. 9 out of 10  bosses will say well why didn’t you ask me? Especially if you say “I didn’t know how to do it so I just tried anyway“. That is what they are there for, to be your mentor. They don’t expect you to know everything . They would be more impressed if you asked rather than if you didn’t, because that means you will have to the same work twice. This will waste time and as they say time is money.

Conclusion

Over the period of my internship I learned a lot about my field, stuff that you couldn’t possible learn in college. You need to go out into the workplace so you can continue your academic growth and apply it to real life situations. It is all well and good knowing the theory of by heart, but unless you can apply it, it is fairly meaningless.

Not only are internships a good way to help you build and learn essential skills but it is also good for your mind on an emotional level. You get a glimpse into the real working world. You will realize how hard you are going to have to work to get to where you want to be. I worked hard, really hard. Between my internship and my part time job I worked  22 days straight with 2 days off  (some were 12 hour days) and boy was that tough! It is a journey to get to the top and it might take a while to get there, so it may be a emotional and tiring battle for you.

Never ever give up, if you feel passionate about something you will work your very hardest to get it and you will get it! An internship is a great way to start your journey and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Remember – always keep your destination in mind when things get a little tough, because in the end when you’re at the top you can be proud that you got yourself there.

I hope you enjoyed my story and you learned something from it. If you have any thoughts or want to share your story please comment below.

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