Career Advice #2
Making the most of internships
7 tips to maximise your placement
If you're looking at a placement/internship, there are some important key tips to consider.
1 - The higher profile schemes advertised are very competitive, so if you really want one of those opportunities, research the firm/content well. That means knowing what your internship involves but also what the company has been doing with content. You need to show you have some understanding of what they do and why.
2 - Away from higher profile schemes, research companies that operate in areas of interest to you. Opportunities are not always advertised. Try and make some contacts with people who work there or who have worked there as an intern before. That will increase your understanding of the brand and what you could offer as an intern.
3 - When communicating with people, be interested and polite. Demonstrate that you are aware of what their content/output is. Too many students send blanket emails asking for placements without thinking more about focussing the request. That's why researching firms/output is key
4 - Remember 'remote' placements are still common - so be prepared to work from home. Some companies welcome offers of help from students, even though they don't advertise it. Ensure you can offer them a 'solution' by contributing to content but don't be taken advantage of. A lot of companies still use interns to do roles that should be paid. Whilst you cannot always know this before, you should not be 'vital' to the content operation.
5 - Many companies are falling over themselves to get increased diversity (rightly so). But remember that means more than race/ethnicity. It means your background and experience. Think about what you offer that is different and what that adds/brings to your journalism/writing.
6 - When on the placement, understand that people are busy and can't always focus on you. Be proactive and show initiative - looking for ways to occupy your time when not given specific work to do. If you are working in the offices, observe and ask engaged questions. Try and leave the team you work with thinking you made a positive impression. This can happen with hard work but also good questions and most importantly initiative.
7 - During the internship/placement - make a note of the stories/content you were involved with and transfer that experience to your CV and cover letters. It is vital to take as much from the experience as possible and tell future employers why that makes you a stronger candidate. You do this through 'demonstrable' skills (see my other blogs on CV/cover letters).
All of these tips will help you maximise your internship or placement. You may also learn that a certain type of operation/company/platform is not for you. That is just as valuable as finding a job you really like.