With having dreams of working in radio I was familiar with the term “internship” and like many others I was blinded by the facade of what that truly meant. From watching “interns” in movies, to hearing the fake horror stories from my peers; I walked into my first internship without a clue of what to expect.
I had high hopes of gaining experience and learning as much as possible before it was time for me to move on… Fast forward to now, I’ve interned with various companies and/or people since about 2014-ish. Throughout all these years I’ve learned first hand the ins and outs, made great memories and amazing friendships, along with life changing experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world. So I wanted to share with you the same things I share with each intern I train or that asks me for advice.
1. Don’t have expectations.
This is so important! One should start off with the most positive mindset but expect nothing at all, or I guarantee you’ll be filled with disappointment. No, you won’t run into your favorite celebrities or artists the first day (it may not even happen at all). No, you won’t be asked to take over on air. Be realistic, walk in with your head held high ready to work hard, and learn all that they’re willing to teach you.
2. Work hard.
Realize that as in intern (whether you’re getting paid, earning college credit, etc.) it’s a job, and one is expected to (surprise, surprise!) work. In order to have the chance to learn more or get promoted you must prove yourself.
I cannot tell you how many times interns become envious of others for getting training or moving up before them. When they constantly call off or even worse don’t show up at all when scheduled for their hours or events. Similar to a regular job if you’re not pulling your own weight, then you won’t be kept in mind when new opportunities arise. Simple as that.
3. Be flexible.
Now I understand that this can’t be realistic for everyone, from my experience my internships were always super flexible with my school and work hours. BUT, that may not always be the case. It’s understandable if you can’t spend all your free time there, but do your best to show up for the maximum amount of hours a week that need to be completed. If you’re able to pick up a few extra hours, do so! It’s really the little things that are noticed and who knows? The right people might be the ones who notice…
4. Don’t carry any sense of entitlement.
You’re there to work, learn, and earn your credit. It isn’t about concert tickets, meeting celebrities, or abusing your work perks. Now, if tickets are offered to you then why not? I guarantee that if they’re offered to you, it’s because you’ve earned it. Or.. sometimes the tickets they have are going to expire and they don’t want them to go to waste. But 99% of the time, it’s because of hard work.
5. If you want to learn more, ask!
My older brother always told me, “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.” That phrase has stuck with me for years, and it’s true. If there is a certain part of the job that you want to be learning, ask about it! Ask your boss or supervisor what you need to do, or who you need to talk to in order to do so. Be sure that you’ll be able to learn something new, and still strive in the tasks that you’re already responsible for. It’s a privilege to learn more, so do your best to stay away from the, “I know so much I’m too good for this paperwork” mentality. I personally think the more you can handle the better, but that’s just me.
6. “Is there anything else you need from me before I go?”
Throughout my life this has been a phrase that I’ve used since I began volunteering as a child. It might be the most important phrase that you want to use just as often as ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ You’ll be very surprised how much appreciation is given when this question is asked. No matter how tired I am, how much traffic I knew I was going to catch, how hungry I was, or if I had plans after; I never hesitated to end the day with this question. It’s shows your boss that no matter what, you’re there to lend a helping hand. Sometimes a little extra help eases the load on everyone just by asking the simple question.
7. Be yourself.
In all the ways that you can be you, do so. From having an amazing personality, being super organized, whatever it is; be you to the fullest. Being genuine to yourself and others will get you so far, and you’ll start to see everything fall into place. It does so at it’s own pace, but it will.
8. Have fun.
Enjoy your internship in all the ways you possibly can. Although it is work, remember that it’s okay to enjoy yourself! If you can’t find ways to (respectfully) make work fun, then you’ll get tired of it quickly. Always remember why you’re there, and why you started. Enjoy it!
These are the things I voice to others when asked about my experience from interning. Remember though, no two internships are the same, prepare to do a little & prepare to do a lot. Be sure to always do your best on each task that you’re given, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. It’s understood that you’re new, and just because you’re interested in a certain industry doesn’t mean that you already know all there is to know. There is always room to learn and to grow. But I’m just speaking on my own personal experiences. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding internships, or comment below the tips you’d share with newbies starting their internship journeys!
*Disclaimer: Every interning experience is different. This post is based off personal experience, and I’m not responsible for lack of achieving success.