We’re coming round to marking nearly one year of my time with LEAP, which, aside from all the standard Teresa-being-shocked-by-the-passage-of-time emotions, fills me with a lot of pride and joy. When I’m asked questions about how I found my first internship, the story I like to tell is I knew very little about what I wanted going in: all I knew is I wanted to gain experience in Marketing, and I needed something to pass my summer with.
I still remember my pre-interview jitters, and the phone call I got confirming I’d landed the job. Little did I know that what was meant to be a one-month internship would turn into what it is today! Many of you might be searching for your own summer jobs right now, and luckily, I have an arsenal of advice that will hopefully help you find work that surprises you and encourages you to grow in equally delightful ways. Here are my top tips:
While I was helped by not knowing exactly what I wanted, even if you’re aware of a very specific field you’d like to enter, try applying to as many organisations that offer experience in that sector as possible. Sometimes, your dream job can’t come through, and it has nothing to do with you as an applicant and more about the needs of the company at the time.
Don’t be disheartened and don’t try pinning all your hopes onto one company: summer jobs are a great chance to learn more about roles you may be curious about, so apply for anything that takes your fancy.
Something I knew early on in my hunt was that I wanted to work with a start-up. There are so many things a start-up offers that a corporate internship may not be able to: a chance to see how things are built from the ground up, the opportunity to wear multiple hats within the company, and a laid-back atmosphere that is often a little more social.
Corporate internships, on the other hand, have their own benefits: if you’re looking to gain solid industry experience, if you want to make contacts you know you can later contact for full-time jobs, or if you want a big name on your CV, then it’s probably a good idea to look for roles at larger organisations. Think about what you need, and search accordingly.
Trust me when I say the length of your internship is never as daunting as it seems when you first sign on. It’s likely to pass by very quickly, and it’s very easy to walk in and out of the office every day, do your basic duties, and not get much else out of it. If you’ve taken the trouble to apply for an internship, you probably want to make the most out of it!
Making a list of goals before you get started will help you be proactive when you’re at work. This can be picking up a new skill, such as learning how to use a certain software or making contacts that you can carry forward with you.
Good luck with finding your summer job! I’ll be here, pinching myself about how time flies.