Thursday, 19 February 2015

10 lessons I learned working as an Intern

In September 2014, I started a 3 month internship with a startup company called DueCourse. The role required me to set up an active presence across Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. I was to set up their blog and write articles relating to business. I also became editor to their freelance writers. An exciting time for me, especially as this was just the beginning.

I was new to it all. I had just got back from a 3 month internship abroad in Berlin, working as a travel Journalist and after applying for many 'so-so' internships I stumbled upon DueCourse's position. They were based in Manchester which just so happened to be where my boyfriend had landed his new job, so it was perfect. Within days I received a reply to say I had got through to the next round and I had to write two articles for them so they could see if my writing skills were up to scratch. They were impressed and I was then invited for an interview which because of me being in a different country and all, was done over Skype.

After a long weekend & a whole Monday spent waiting and checking my inbox every 2 seconds, around 5pm they finally got back to me. I was to start a few days later when I landed back in England. I couldn't believe it. What may have been just another internship to you, was a step on the career ladder for me.

So, as my internship came to an end just before Christmas, I thought I would finally share with you the valuable lessons I took away from my experience as an intern.

#1 Research:
The amount of research I did, especially within the first few weeks was unbelievable, but necessary. Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if it is just to Google.

#2 Listen:
Even when they are not speaking directly to you. I learned so much about the company, the three co-founders and their work ethic just from listening to them speak to each other.

#3 Admit Your Faults:
I owned up to what I couldn't do and emphasised what I could, pretty much the first day. Then I worked hard to smash everything I said I didn't know how to do. "But I thought you said you didn't know how to..."

#4 Make Notes: 
My notebook was completely full after the 3 months was up and it serves as an inspiring catalogue full of ideas that I always refer back to, even now.

#5 Socialise:
Drinks after work? Of course! Never turn down a chance to get to know the team unless you really, really, I mean seriously have to.

#6 Plan Ahead:
When you talk with the Boss, show them how the work you are doing today, however small, is going to make a difference in the long term. That commitment is worth something.

#7 Write A 'Have Done' List: 
At first I started with a to-do list that never ever ended. No matter how much I did, I went home feeling like it wasn't enough. Leaving work with my 'have done' list under my arm instead, proved to me that I deserved those drinks after work.

#8 Act Oblivious:
The guys got into a heated argument within my first week and I didn't even look up from my desk. I didn't let it faze me. It was a good job too because within 10 minutes they were laughing about something that happened yesterday.

#9 Check In Daily:
You're there to receive guidance and learn from the professionals so make sure this is what you get. Just 5 minutes a day going through what you have done and plan to do with the boss gives you time to think and prepare for what needs to be done next, in the right way.

#10 Fake It Until You Make It:
Honestly, if you knew exactly what you was doing then you wouldn't have applied for the intern position in the first place. But we all have to start somewhere.

A lot of people say internships are a waste of time and that you just run around making coffee for everyone. However, if you don't know what you want to do and are doing an internship for the sake of doing one, then I guess it is a waste of time. So don't let an internship be just another box to tick on your CV, let it be the start of your career. Work hard and enjoy it.

I did and I am now DueCourse's full time Content & Social Media Coordinator.

P.S I never had to make anybody coffee... result!

Potential Confidant

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you did an awesome job, and learned a lot in the process! Good for you! I've never interned, but I'm in my first year teaching, and I know the importance of being excellent when you're new.