Subject: What Should a Good Internship Look Like?
Look up the word ‘Intern’ on Urban Dictionary and the following comes up (get ready to laugh):
1. ‘Company bitch.’
2. ‘An individual that agrees to corporate enslavement that forfeit the right of any unique identifiers.’
3. ‘A person who willingly becomes a slave to the corporate world because they enjoy getting abused and whipped by supervisors.’
4. ‘Free slaves in the workplace.’
The list goes on...
We get it. The term ‘Intern’ has a bad rep thanks to the horror stories that have been handed down over time. A friend once told me that whilst interning at London Fashion Week her sole job for the afternoon was sticking body tape on to model’s behinds to ensure that their bikini briefs would not ride up. But fear not. We are here to change that mentality as being an Intern can actually be pretty darn good.
When you are starting out you want to try and get as much experience as possible in the industry and doing as many different roles as possible. So it is important to remember that your attitude towards each role or task is vitally important to your success. If you have a bad attitude to begin with you can say adios to that internship, as there will be someone as equally hungry for the role as you are just behind you. So, if you are willing to put in the work, have a positive and flexible attitude, follow our tips (because who doesn’t like a list...) for recognising what a good internship looks like:
1. Find a Mentor: You will hopefully be linked to a mentor who works for the organisation and has all the inside knowledge about how the company works, the culture and the unsaid rules.. Listen, and then listen some more. They will be able to teach you and guide you in the culture of the company.
2. #Goals: And no, we aren’t talking about your dream home on Pinterest. Your internship should be goal-orientated so that you leave with more knowledge and skills than you started with. A good idea is to set out what you want to achieve in your internship with your mentor and look at the steps to getting there. Do you want to know how to write a professional email to a fashion PR company asking for samples? Do you want to pitch two idea’s to the editor of the magazine? Be clear what you want to achieve, and go for it.
3. Perks: Remember in The Hills, when Emily (the ‘Super-Intern’ from TeenVogue NY), got to attend the fancy dinner that her and Lauren Conrad (LC) organised, and Lauren was told her job was done? Sometimes, you will be told you are not invited to the fancy party, and sometimes you will be. You will more likely be rewarded if your enthusiasm and hard-work is recognised. Whilst interning at a fashion magazine, I was asked to do a task for the beauty editor (a job outside of my duties), but I was rewarded with a beauty haul in the beauty cupboard. Money-wise, most good internship programmes should offer at least your travel expenses.
4. Responsibilities: Sometimes you will be handing out the post, doing the coffee-run and filling out excel spreadsheets in your day to day responsibilities. However, a sign of a good internship will involve you taking on more meaningful jobs that you are trusted to carry out. If you are solely in the post room bored out of your brains, alarm bells should be ringing.
5. Buzz: Being an Intern can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It is a time to explore as many diverse roles as possible and to gain as much knowledge and skills as your beautiful brains can handle. You should be wanting to jump out of bed each day with excitement and anticipation for the day ahead, or speaking to your friends about how much fun you are having. Always take note of that sparkly feeling in your gut, go forth and prosper!