So you have reached the end of your torturous 3-7 year journey completing your degree, you have grown into your big boy pants (and outgrown non elastic pants). Most graduates struggle with finding a job straight out of studies, and the key is to set yourself apart from the crowd. Find you niche skill and exploit it. Landing your first internship can be a huge relief, finally your time has arrived to begin the next phase in your life.
I myself completed 4 years of study and in my final honours year I concurrently completed my Internship (well I was lucky enough to complete my studies at night- boy did that save me a year). It was challenging trying to be a completely impressive employee at day and ace my finals at night. But once it was done, it was a liberating feeling, and I was prepared to take on the next challenge…
Heres some tips that kept me in check during the transition period
- Be Profession-ale
Internships can either come with a pay check or without one. Nonetheless it is still a stepping stone, and if you find yourself in one you will have to earn your experience from the ground up. *started from the bottom no we here – align your goals to sing this song proudly one day* don’t be late, don’t take extended breaks and most definitely don’t complain if you are asked to complete a coffee run – there is no one below the intern. Get used to it. Once you have proven yourself, there will quickly be a newbie to replace you.
- What threads to dread
Most likely internships are filled with severe multitasking, relentless supervision and copious amounts of running around to impress every being, to the point where you say “offcourse I can do it for you” – when your colleague wants to take the afternoon off. And duh ofcourse you do! So dress in a professional manner, alter it to the companies culture. Don’t wear 6 inch heels on the daily, as you will either a) face plant into the pot plant when you are carrying five boxes of photocoping material b) walk with a limp because you had to run to through 7 different buildings in one hour and for heavens sake no you can’t take your shoes off for a break! Or c) your manager will think you are impractical at the fact that you thought you could sit all day in your Steve Madden. Also stay clear of clown makeup- leave it to the circus acts- its more their field.
Keep it simple and classy, blazers can always dress up a plain tee and some skinny formal pants, paired with some wedges or smaller heels and you good to go.
- Be happy to be here
Co-workers feed off the enthusiasm and energy a young intern brings to the team. Your attitude towards learning will become infectious to those all around you and that will contribute to an improved workforce. There is nothing like a fresh mind, asking questions to keep a team on their feet. Don’t disappoint, suck it up and BE HAPPY TO BE HERE.
- Spatial boundaries
Eew Don’t hover. Learn the etiquette of the company. Nobody wants to be stuck with baby sitting the intern all year. Don’t forget that they still have their own jobs to do.
- Where, when and how?
Adapt to your surroundings, discover when it’s the right times for lunch, how does a shared fridge work and whats acceptable behaviour during your breaks. I’m pretty sure opening up a lunch box of sardines for a late breakfast is going to digest well.