How to Snag an Internship (& Survive it)!

Hey everyone!!

What’s going on?

We might be approaching summer and while I love a chill day in the sun as much as the next girl, I also love to work and stay busy! And if you’re like me and planning to work during the summer then this is the post for you 🙂

For those on the look out for jobs or internships, I thought that I could share some tips that really helped me during my interning experience!

Here’s a small trip down memory lane…About 3 years ago, I was in the middle of studying professional photography at my college but was still obsessed with the idea of writing for a fashion magazine like Seventeen or Teen Vogue one day. So the semester came to an end and I had the opportunity to intern at the up and coming ‘The Vocalist Magazine’. I found the ad on my college’s job bank and honestly, I didn’t even have any serious job experience up until then…So when I got called for in an interview, I was so surprised and terrified!!

I ended up working there as an intern for 2 years and it really did help me in numerous ways afterward. It helped improve my writing skills and also totally threw me out of my comfort zone by doing interview.

The Internet is Your Oyster! 

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So like I said, I discovered my internship by browsing my college’s job bank. I know that most of the colleges/unis have here but if yours don’t I’d seriously recommend googling exactly what it is you want. I swear, sometimes it really is that easy!

 My second writing job was at MTL Blog and I found that opportunity by simply typing in ‘writing jobs, Montreal’ on Google and looking through Indeed. Rather than focusing on a few specific companies I had in mind, a broader search on Indeed let me find a lot more opportunities at one time and discover places I’d never even heard of. There are also more focused sites/search engines out there that you could use – for example, I check Indie DB regularly for any indie game developers who are looking for a writer on their team.

Connections Really Help!

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Having people who either are knowledgeable about the field you want to work  in or are working in it themselves are a great resource! I kept in touch with a college teacher I had a few years back and email him every once in a while to see if he’s heard of any events or opportunities that would suit me.

He taught this class called ‘The Art of Game Design’ and though he was more into the programming part of game design, he was super knowledgeable about the writing aspect behind games as well and ended up being a big help to me by lending me a book to read and referring me to a game writing class that was actually taught by Jill Murray, a woman who wrote some of the Assassin’s Creed games.

Without his help, I would have never even thought of taking a writing class, much less found one so up my alley! So whether you look to teachers as connections or meet someone in the industry at an event or convention, it’s important to make friends! Jill also told us once not to go up to a potential connection and rant about how much you want a job or else that makes them feel like the only reason your talking to them is to use them. Instead, show your interested by talking about your interests and genuinely getting to know the person. They may even offer help without you having to ask!

First Impressions Are Everything

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It’s cheesy but it’s true. From experience, everything from your appearance, greeting, handshake, attitude and shyness can sway a bosses opinion of you. My boss at Dagwoods (a local sandwich chain in Montreal), said once that the first handshake says a lot to him about the person he’s about to interview. So with that said, dressing nicely and staying polite are super important. As well, let the passion for what you want shine through. Throw in why you want to intern there and comment on their work so they know you’ve brushed up on your facts/history on the place – ask questions too to show you’re eager, interested and curious!

Have Some Work to Show

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When I went into my interview at The Vocalist, I had literally no professional writing experience except for the work I’d done writing for my college paper. However, I made the best of it and brought a clipping of our latest issue, which had a Papa Roach concert review I’d recently written. This might not apply to all internships but if it does apply, bringing a sample of your work is a good way to impress your boss and show them what you’re capable of! So get started on that portfolio! Make sure it’s edited thoroughly and your best work to date.

How-To Survive It

Write Everything Down!

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The most important part of being an intern, to me at least, is learning. This may or may not be a permanent position but absorbing as much knowledge as you can while you’re there is a biggie. Think of it like being in a more hands-on classroom – ask questions and bring a notebook with you everywhere, everyday. I’m someone who appreciates a pretty notebook (see above hehe) because it inspires me to take it out and write things down but regardless, taking notes whether it be on your laptop or notebook, the knowledge you gain at an internship is invaluable and it’s a good resource to be able to look back on later.

How You Dress is Important

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(Left) Blue flowery romper from Kensington Market in Toronto, (Middle) Light blue blouse from H&M, (Right) Houndstooth print knee-length dress from H&M

I think that a person’s appearance are second to a person’s brain but again, appearances at a job are very important. People tend to take you more seriously when you’re dressing well but it shows if you’re uncomfortable in your own skin so try and find a happy medium!

For example, I really love dresses and blazers but I find that blouses can fit weird on my shoulders or feel tight and I don’t even own a pair of dress pants. Though dresses can easily be inappropriate in an office, they can also look classic and girly – so long as they are a decent length (at the knees or at least near it) and have a sophisticated-looking print.

At my first internship, other workers dressed super casual whereas my boss was always in a suit. In those cases, I seldom dressed in shorts and a tee because it just felt off. When in doubt, it’s always better to match how the boss is dressing it also gives off a good impression to guests visiting the office who (maybe) might become a good connection for you!

Read up on & Research Your Career!

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There are so many learning resources out there for you to dig into! I’ve collected a few resource and textbooks either from book stores or school over the years and they still help me today.  So broaden your horizons a little and take the initiative to research your dream job! 🙂

These are a few of my favorite resource/non-fiction books. They range from my love for creative writing and journalism, art, and photography!

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Some are lighter reads than others but they offer so much advice outside of the office and classroom.

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What are some of your favorite non-fiction reads? Comment them below!

Stay Organized!

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It might sound simple but staying organized is both for your own sanity and to show to your boss that you’re paying attention. Write down assignment due dates, numbers, emails and meetings, make to-do lists and jot down pitch ideas. Everything that sounds important or needs attention, pencil it in in a planner ASAP before you forget! Your boss might also rely on or test you on how much your paying attention by asking for dates and times they told you about previously. They shouldn’t have to remind you and you shouldn’t have to ask!

Don’t be Afraid to Pitch/Speak Your Mind!

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You might be there for learning/working experience but you might also be in the position to potentially snag a permanent job. Because of that, you should never feel afraid to speak your mind and pitch ideas. Take initiative and show your boss that you’ve got your own brilliant, well-thought-out ideas and explain why they should take it into consideration. Bosses appreciate creativity and initiative, especially because you are young with a fresh perspective and intelligent mind!

. . .

Since my internship, I’ve written for smaller blogs like MTL Blog, Gameluster and N3rdabl3 and I really believe that I got those jobs because of all the experience I gained at my internship.

They might not always be easy – in fact they’ll be downright exhausting…

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But internships are amazing stepping stones to bigger things!!

If you read all the way through, I hope this maybe helped you if an internship/job is what you’re looking for! I’m no expert on it but these tips definitely helped me!

Have you had an internship before? What was it like and what are your top tips? Let me know in the comments down below!

Welll, that’s all I’ve got for today, see you next time!

-Mel

 

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8 thoughts on “How to Snag an Internship (& Survive it)!

  1. Writing everything down, suitable get up[dress presentably], first impressions and most importantly researching about the company you’re applying for. You list most of these on your post which is very useful 👍🏼👌🏼. Helpful info Mel 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You listed a lot of great informative posts. Also, wear your most beautiful smile. Smiling makes everything a lot easier and it attracts positivity.

    By the waym those Devil Wears Prada gifs are so entertaining.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great tips! Your initiative will take you far in your career. My daughter just served an internship in Venice, Italy. It was as much an accomplishment for her as it was for me to survive her being so far away for so long! Here’s a link in case you’re interested: https://marilynyung.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/is-an-overseas-internship-in-your-daughters-future-dont-worry-shell-be-fine-you-on-the-other-hand/ Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

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