This is a blog post for all of you out there that are doing what I was doing a couple of months ago; realising you’ve almost finished your communications degree at uni with not a lot to show and desperately searching for hands on experience to help you decide on your next move.
Lucky for me I landed an amazing opportunity to intern at Stellar Concepts – a consumer lifestyle PR agency based in Surry Hills and what an eye opening experience this has been!
On the contrary to popular belief, interning has taught me so much more than subjects at university ever could. I have found that being an intern has, over the years and as portrayed on television, developed a stigma of only doing the office dirty work, i.e. taking out the trash and running coffees. Yes, interning can involve doing those things (everyone needs to pay their dues), but it also entails so much more than that.
When finding an internship, it’s not just about landing the right one, but also how to make the most of it and use this experience to help you with your career path in every way possible.
And so, I give you my top five tips on making your internship worthwhile:
- Be proactive and demonstrate initiative – This includes things like being prompt to arrive and offering to do things around the office. Remember that you don’t necessarily know how to do things (you’re an intern and that’s what you’re here to learn), but being proactive and taking initiative helps to demonstrate that you’re willing and able to learn.
- Show enthusiasm – it makes you memorable! Passion and a positive can-do attitude show your eagerness to learn and these are qualities always recognised by team members. Given these team members might also hold the key to your future in the industry, it’s important to keep in mind that internships are not only a great learning opportunity, but a great networking opportunity too, so be sure to build relationships that may help you get your foot in the door.
- Pay attention – to other people in the office. A lot of people in the communications industry started as interns so take note of how they work! You’re not only developing interpersonal skills and learning how to work alongside people in an office environment, but there is also room for a lot of personal development as well. Adjusting yourself from uni life to a more structured work space takes time and you definitely get a good picture of what it is like whilst interning.
- Ask questions and take notes – This is not only a chance for you to get real time insights into the industry, but also to make the most of what you’re learning on the theory side of things too. It may sound strange but when you actually have the need to write a press release, you’ll be wishing you paid more attention in those public relations subjects than you did!
- And lastly… don’t stop at one! To be able to decide where your skills and abilities lie and what area of the industry excites you, you need to do a variety of internships. Try boutique agencies as well as larger companies and see what kind of field of communications you thrive in.
And at the end of the day always keep in touch. A lot of great employees come through internships and you never know when the next door will open!
Natasha Henderson, Intern at Stellar Concepts