How to make the most out of work experience.
You only get a short amount of time to impress people during your experience as an intern. It's important that you make the best impact you can, before you're quickly replaced by a sharper, friendlier, more eager version of yourself. The doors of an office are constantly traffic-jammed with a rotation of students dying to make a good impression.
1. Don't be a brat.
My biggest fear was to graduate and have nothing to do with my time. It was not unrealistic to visualise myself spending days in bed watching Come Dine With Me. With this constant worry playing on my mind, I started organising opportunities. I sent off my CV to companies asking to spend time in their offices, or if I could at least meet someone over coffee to discuss possible options. Whether they are offering to pay your expenses or a small wage, they are doing you a favour and you should take any opportunity that comes your way. It will lead to other options.
2. Bug, bug, bug.
It's okay to send numerous emails. If you don't get a reply straight away remember that they're busy people. There's nothing wrong with picking up the phone either. Don't lose sight of what you want. It's all achievable. Bugging shows dedication.
2. Sample the schmorges-board.
I used my spare time at MTV to edit a showreel together of the presenting I had done. I knew I wanted to be a presenter and was keen to gain more experience. I immediately sent the link to several agencies. It's important to network; there is so much information that you can access in the workplace that you couldn't elsewhere. It's a schmorges-board of knowledge and experience. They have more to offer you than you have to offer them - harsh, but true. Take advantage (but don't get too greedy).
3. Say Hello.
Introduce yourself to people personally. Always handshake. Always make eye contact. Make sure everyone knows your name. Make sure you know their names. Ensure they know where you sit and vice versa. Don't sit around waiting to be given a job, you've got to appear keen. Be vocal about your skills and don't be scared to share your opinions. It's very easy to disappear behind a computer.
Are there drinks after work? Worm your way in there. If there's a lunch happening, tag along. It's all about making your face constantly present; so much so that you become part of the team without them realising. Be approachable. People love talking about themselves. It's almost everyone's favourite thing to do, so act interested in their lives.
5. What do you want?
Don't lose sight of your ultimate goal. Always keep in mind what you want and figure out ways to start putting the wheels in motion. There's always new people to meet and new things to learn.
6. Caffeine is essential.
If they want coffee, give the people coffee. It's a good way to learn names, introduce yourself personally and get to know where people sit. There's a lot you can achieve in a 20 second mug-delivery. Just don't end up doing the daily coffee round.