Internships: Moving beyond university and into your future career
In order to understand which aspects of an industry you enjoy, it’s really important to challenge yourself in different work environments. Practical experience is the key to developing any learning, and this is particularly important in the public relations sector.
Your internship is an opportunity to build on your theoretical knowledge from university, make friends, challenge yourself, and most importantly prove your skills to a company you could work for one day.
To graduate without having interned is like driving on your P-Plates without having practised on your L-Plates. I’m not saying it’s a life-threatening risk, but just like learning to drive, your industry skills and knowledge take time to develop.
I recently undertook a three month internship with IMPACT and am so grateful for what I’ve learned.
So, here are my top tips for securing, and making the most of your internship:
- Set goals. When looking for an internship, try to look for workplaces that offer an official program where you have the opportunity to set learning goals with your supervisor.
- Use initiative. Just because internships aren’t mentioned on a company’s website, doesn’t mean they don’t have one. Seek out a company that interests you and if you are unsure – ask the question!
If the company lacks structure around your internship, take initiative and set your own learning goals. Make your supervisor and the team aware of your goals so they can help you achieve them.
- Be inquisitive. Each of your new colleagues will have a unique story as to how they got to where they are. This insight is invaluable and is something you can’t learn at university.
- Consider yourself a part of the team. Work hard, ask for more work when you have capacity and ask to be involved in projects that interest you. Dive in without inhibition and given the opportunity, make an effort to attend team building activities such as ‘Friday drinks’, lunch and learn sessions or offsite events.
- Evaluation. At the close of your internship, ask for critical feedback on what you did well and what you could improve on. This ensures you walk away from the experience with skills to develop.
In summary, the best things you can do to make the most of your internship are to have an open mind, share your knowledge, be inquisitive, proactive, and take the opportunity to network and make lasting connections within the company and the sector.
FYI, I start full-time at IMPACT in June 😊