This form is designed to help you prepare for your internship. It assumes you have already contacted the employer (you want to intern with) and they have accepted for an agreed period of time. It also assumes you have been advised who your supervisor (contact) will be during this time.
For all intents and purposes, you will be treated as an employee – it will make it a better, more real experience for both sides. That means you need to show up, mentally and physically, and turn that good first impression into a lasting great one.
Here are four ways you can make the best of the opportunity:
1. Breathe deeply and lean into the stress
Let’s be honest, this is going to be intimidating. Just like turning up for any new contract, you’ll be entering a new workplace, meeting new people, understanding a new culture, working on new briefs. It’s all-new. Knowing it’s going to be intimidating actually makes it easier. Remember, most senior staff have gone through exactly the same thing in their careers, so it’s okay to feel like a ‘fish out of water’. Expect the first few days to feel intimidating and carry on.
2. Be realistic and plan for the bigger picture
Don’t expect to be working on the biggest and best briefs. You’ll most likely be given the lowest of the low jobs, at least at the start. Data entry, note-taking, filing, basic layout, research, presentation templates — it probably won’t be the exciting stuff. Remember, your employer is working out your strengths and getting to know your capacity. Do well on the menial stuff and you’ll soon be invited to bigger projects.
3. Be respectful and act professionally
Remember above all, you have been invited into a commercial workplace. Sure, there may be ping pong tables and bar fridges but at the end of the day, it is a commercial enterprise designed to make money.
Be respectful and act professionally. That means remembering names when you meet people, lots of people. You’ll need a way to remember all of their names so develop a system of mentally filing who they are and what they do. “I’m terrible with names” is not going to cut it, if you want to be remembered yourself you need to do this.
4. Treat your ‘buddy’ like gold
You will most likely have a ‘buddy’ — someone who has been tasked to help out and keep an eye on you. Treat them like gold. Our industry is all about networks. Your coworkers should become your contacts and you never know where you or they will end up in the future.
Aim to make yourself invaluable so when there is a graduate job available you’re next in line. Watch and listen so you can preempt your buddy’s next move. Never look like you haven’t anything to do – there is always something to do in a busy studio. If you can’t think of anything make it one of your questions at the next catchup.
5. ‘Hometime’ might shift sometimes but just be sure to check-in before leaving
Don’t expect 9-5. We’d all like it to be, unfortunately, the nature of the industry demands a little more here or there. That doesn’t mean we should be working 24/7 either but expect that ‘home time’ is always going to be a slightly awkward period of the day. You might get an internship where the doors are locked at 5 pm and everyone is sent home — that’s great — most places will expect you to finish the job you’re working on before leaving. Check-in with your handler, let them know where you got up to and wish them a nice night.
A few ideas to make yourself memorable