In April I got the shiny, glowing email to say that I had been accepted as a Social Media and Online Marketing intern for a start-up in Berlin and I was delighted! Fast forward to now, (September) and I’ve been with the company for 3 months nearly.
Here’s what i’ve learnt so far as well as my thoughts and advice for people about to embark on an internship themselves:
I work hard. As an intern I think you can take 2 routes: 1-be there for the 30 hours you’re paid for and complete the tasks people give to you, or 2- be there 40 hours a week, make your own identity in the team and become worth more than the number you’re paid. It might seem pointless to some people, to work for next to nothing and do more than you ever have to but for me it’s important- it has helped me be able to learn more than I ever would have if I hadn’t been so proactive.
Internships are stepping-stones for the future. They are opportunities to learn about different businesses and industries, to network and build work relationships for the future and finally to learn about yourself- what kind of job can you see yourself doing (or not doing!😂) and moreover how can you get to the point where you are able to do the job you are most passionate about?
This being said, before I even started looking for jobs there was no way I was going to let myself become a coffee bitch😂 But seriously…I had too many aspirations and too much determination to put myself in a position where I would be taken on by a big and seemingly successful company but be lost within it. I wanted to be useful wherever I was, make an impact and be valued.
I am extremely lucky that my team have let me do all of the things above. They respect my work ethic and my drive and in turn they give me freedom and responsibility within my role. My team is a close-knit group of 12 people and I feel genuinely so grateful to have landed with them. I’m doing things that I would never have imagined I’d be doing, with levels of responsibility I never thought i’d be trusted with as an intern and have gained so much in terms of personal skills and take-aways already.
If I could give a future intern some advice here’s what i’d say:
- Don’t get sucked in by brand names- I did this too! When looking on all the job searching sites, of course all the big brand names will stand out to you and you will be drawn to them more than others. But stop to think! Firstly you will be a lot less likely to get the position -especially if you don’t have much work experience in that field- because everyone else is also thinking the same as you and applying. But secondly and most importantly, I think it’s imperative to never take on a position where you think there’s a possibility of you getting swallowed up. As a first internship look at small companies and start-ups that are building really exciting things and where you can learn ten-fold what you would somewhere else.
- Be open to widening your search- I had to be really flexible when applying for internships and looked all over Germany to start with! I knew I couldn’t be too picky and would have to widen my search to find exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do.
- You don’t have to take the first offer- I wrote another blog post all about this here but basically don’t take a position that you don’t think is right for you. It’s not beneficial for anyone- its a waste of your time, the company will probably not get exactly what they want and thirdly there’s probably someone out there who is perfect for that job-so let them take it! Don’t stress❤️…things will work out, and in the meantime keep searching!
- Ask questions- ! When you have interviews you HAVE to ask questions! Not only does it show the potential employer that you’re interested and driven to learn about the company, but it is also important for you! If you’re going to spend all day every day sat at a desk working hard for a company, you have the right to know exactly what you’re getting into. Being curious, defining your role and finding out the structure of the company isn’t cheeky- it’s actually probably the most reasonable thing you could do in the situation!
- Compromise- You’re probably not going to find the absolute perfect job for you. But thats ok- compromise is how we learn what’s important to us and helps us realise our priorities. For me I got a great internship in the field I want to explore more in the future and I got the perfect place for my internship: Berlin. Therefore I compromised on the salary. I’m so glad I did this, and would really recommend others to seriously consider their priorities before applying for jobs-it will save you lots of time applying for the wrong positions and will make sure you are content in your new internship.
- Be the best you can be- But don’t worry about being anything more. You’re human and it is completely okay to need some time to adjust into your role, to learn about the company and to find out where you fit in. Any reasonable team will understand this and once you’ve settled in properly- it will be as if you’ve always been there!
- Look at the big picture- As I said earlier, in my opinion internships are stepping-stones to future opportunities. So, take every offer and opportunity you can! Keep learning and keep driving to make yourself more useful.
- Make the role yours- Learn to experiment and put ideas on the table, contribute in meetings and ask questions. Remember your boss picked you out of all the applicants- so they must at least have at least a little faith in you😉!
- Enjoy- This is a really special opportunity to learn, grow and develop. Use it and have fun!
Soooo…What are my plans after my internship? Who knows really! But the aim is to get another internship next summer in the areas of Journalism, Online Marketing or Content Creation and lets see what happens!
Bis Bald. x