These days, you can’t expect to land your dream job without some decent experience behind you. It might be annoying when entry-level jobs want three to five years of work experience, but there’s a good reason for it. Experience weighs more than any piece of paper and proves your willingness to work hard.
I spent 10 months interning for Southern Cross Austereo, working on both the hit105 (formerly B105) and Triple M Breakfast shows in Brisbane. I became known as InternJase, and the team (even though I have been a producer on the breakfast show for nearly two years) still refers to me by that nickname today. And I’ve taken it on, too!
Here are the seven most important pieces of advice I was given while trying to turn my internship into a full-time role:
1. Say YES…. To Everything
This might be the biggest thing you learn as an intern. Show people that you’re keen to learn and hungry for more opportunities. Not gonna lie, I did end up saying yes to some pretty out there things during my time as an intern. But I also got some amazing opportunities because I said yes to everything. I still live by this philosophy at work and it’s still paying off.
2. Ask Questions
There’s a reason why you are doing an internship. If you think it’s just to fulfil a uni requirement then you need to readjust your perspective. Ps may mean degrees but that mindset won’t get you very far in life. The ACTUAL reason you’re doing an internship is to learn. And you don’t learn without asking questions. Ask every question you think of (even if you think it will make you look stupid), because otherwise you might go months without knowing the answer and that DOES make you stupid.
3. Speak Up
This was one I struggled with initially. I was always too intimidated to pitch ideas, share thought-starters, give my opinion, etc. Although at the start you’re just listening and learning, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your ideas aren’t good enough. Some people in that room are a lot smarter than you and your idea might trigger the snowball effect. Maybe they can build on your suggestion. Or, if you’re a genius, then it might already be amazing and their minds might be blown. Well done, you. Find your voice and share that idea but don’t take it personally if it doesn’t go anywhere. And before you give your big pitch, do a quick Google search to see if the idea's been done before. Or this could happen: (Story continues after video)
4. Don’t expect people to just give you something to do. Make them give you something
This is a big one. When you’re an intern, people probably won’t offer you a bunch of exciting opportunities because a) they don’t trust you yet and b) it’s just easier for them to do it themselves. If you want to be there and grow your skill set, then make them give you stuff. This is your chance to prove yourself… don’t screw it up!
5. Don’t Make Enemies
This might seem hard at times, but it’s extremely important. You never know how things will pan out and someone might eventually get a promotion that gives them the opportunity to make or break your career. So before you tell that person at work that they’re a lazy jerk, think about how it might impact you down the track.
I’m a strong believer in the notion that persistence will get you to where you want to be. If you’re persistent, someone will eventually give you a chance. You just have to make sure that, when they do, you take full advantage of it.
7. Never think what you do goes unnoticed
If you disregard every other bit of advice I’ve just given you, remember this: there will be times when you think that you’re not getting anywhere and that what you’re doing is a waste of time. No biggie. We all feel that way sometimes.
But trust me, someone noticed all the times you stayed back or asked questions until you totally understood a concept, or that you took the time to plan a complete idea that probably won’t go anywhere, or that you’ve been taking notes at every single meeting, or that you’re the person who delivers their coffee every day.
Whatever it is you’re doing to help out, someone, somewhere along the line, has noticed. And just when you decide you can’t work any harder and you’re ready to pack it in, just think: the next day might be when you’re given the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
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