The dos, the don’ts and the need to knows of an internship
When it comes to certain career paths, an internship is somewhat inevitable. With graduation fast approaching and the UKs workforce predicted to change careers 5-7 times within their lifetime, an internship is no longer a path stereotypically left for the those in their early 20’s. Subsequently, a place on a quality internship is more competitive than ever. With every story of a successful internship there is ten more of horror.
I am getting paid right?
Well, this depends on your employment status. If you are classed as an employee or promised a full-time position within the company in the future, then the employer has a legal obligation to pay at least minimum wage. However, if your internship is completed as part of an educational course, you are volunteering or simply shadowing an employee, then there is no legal obligation to pay you.
When it comes to accepting an unpaid position, it is important to see the bigger picture. Sometimes, the contacts established, and the knowledge acquired is worth more than any money made.
I’ll do that
It goes without saying that throughout your internship you should always portray an enthusiastic attitude and be willing to complete every task that you are allocated. However, be sure to know what you can realistically achieve. You are new to the industry and suggesting that you can complete the same tasks as the CEO can cause you to be a pain rather than an asset to the team.
This isn’t for me
Yes, it is crucial that you are grateful for the opportunity to partake in an internship however, it is important to realise that it is not a true representation of the industry you are entering. For this reason, do not feel like you must love the role you are in. Chances are, if you were a full-time employee you would not be filing 24/7 and completing data entry. Use this time to learn the basics of the industry and establish which road you want to follow.
Look to the side as well as up
One of the main objectives of an internship is to make valuable connections. Nevertheless, it is not just those in a senior role that will make the most valuable of contacts. It is vital that you also form great relationships with the other interns. You never know where their careers will go and what lead they will potentially give you.
Save the drama for the movies
Yes, the Devil Wear Prada is iconic however, the fashionista act doesn’t get you very far in the real world. Always remember to be nice to everybody. People buy into people and a personality can put you ahead of those that may be more experienced in the future.
It’s not just work
Remember, the people that you are working with have lived and learned. Ask their advice – is there anything that they would do differently if they did it all again? What, in their opinion is the future of the industry and what are the vitals to learn?
Time and time again
Remember, all eyes are on you. Always be on time and leave when you are supposed to leave. This not only shows professionalism but an appreciation for the opportunity.
I have only done the one
Complete as many internships as possible. Not only will this give you a wealth of knowledge but also look great on a C.V.