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NEXT STOP, SUCCESS: A How-To Guide For Interns

Every year, Australian Universities graduate intelligent and knowledgeable PR Practitioners ready to make their mark in the industry. Yet more than 53% of these grads are unemployed or underemployed – a staggering reality check for those who’ve spent a large portion of their life studying to ready themselves for the working environment.

Moving straight from full-time study to full-time work should be the norm, not the exception. The industry is missing out on some brilliant, unjaded and enthusiastic workers and the graduates are missing out on invaluable experience, putting their theories to practice in the real world.

Many grads begin their career working in internships which can benefit both the employee and the employer. Not only is an internship a great way to gain experience, practical knowledge and industry contacts, but employers can use it as a way to ‘try before they buy’ and decide whether the grad is a good fit for the company.

Although the journey from an intern to full-time employment is often unglamorous, it’s important to remember that the coffee runs; tedious data entry and gathering lunch orders are all part of the gig. Often, unrealistic expectations are conjured up in our minds – some interns think they’ll be running campaigns as soon as they walk in the door however, there needs to be a mutual respect between interns, colleagues and managers.

So whether you’re embarking on your very first internship or about to start one here are 10 tips and tricks to turn your internship into a successful money-maker!

1- Show some initiative: Nothing stands out more than a candidate going the extra mile. Offering to attend meetings, take notes or hot seat in another area of the office shows your willingness to learn and will boost the employers’ confidence in your ability to absorb a new environment.

2- Appearance: Someone once told me to always dress for the job you want and that’s exactly what I did! People won’t take you as a serious contender for the role unless you dress in a professional manner. So boys, suit up and girls leave the jeans at home! 

3- Embrace social media: Not only do you want to look good on paper, you want to look good online. Social media is quickly becoming an integral part of any business so ensure your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts are active, up to date and well presented.

4- Network within the company: This will give you more visibility across the company floor and increase your chances for opportunities that may elevate your career in the future.

5- Speak up!: At any internship you want to be heard and remembered! Where appropriate contribute to discussions, brainstorms and meetings to prove to the employer that you have a voice which would be a valuable asset to their team.

6- Ask for feedback: Once you complete a task, actively seek feedback on where you could have improved. That way you can avoid the same mistakes in future.

7- Ask for additional work: Make sure you don’t remain seated waiting for people to come to you with tasks. Actively seek out the work and ask people if they need help. This will show you are a motivated and active learner. It’s important to remember that you’re there to learn and employers need to gain trust, so you’ll likely start with administrative tasks. Take these tasks seriously as you will start to gain more responsibility once you’ve demonstrated capability.

8- Proof your material: Before you send off any documents to an employer, double check your work. An extra five minutes is all it takes to do a spell check and scan your work for grammatical and punctuation errors. Attention to detail is a valued skill in many professions; it will prove you have the ability to set a standard of work that they would feel comfortable forwarding on to a client or executive.

9- Understand the brief & ask questions: When you receive a task from a team member, make sure you understand it. Write down the instructions step by step and re-read them whilst the team member is still there. Once you’ve re-read the instructions ensure you have no further questions before they walk away.

10- Get some experience: There is nothing better on a resume than experience! Get as much experience within your desired field as possible. Even if you don’t land a job from one internship, you’ll learn a bunch of other things including; whether you even like the industry you’ve chosen, what you want from the job and key learnings you can take to your next internship.  

Provided you’ve wooed the company and made a good impression to your prospective employer, you’ll no doubt be offered an opportunity to apply for an upcoming role. The internship has proved your work ethic and the interview will therefore be a form of protocol. For tips to ace your job interview, check out: And remember – don’t lose hope if you don’t land a job from your first Internship – think of it as a learning experience and one that can benefit you in the near future!

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