Hello! I am the intern! Well Luna actually (not frankie), however being an intern for the first few weeks, you will be known as “the intern”!
In my experience I feel that the word “internship” has some negativity surrounding it, brought on by my pre-assumptions. You tell your family and friends you’ve got an internship and I guarantee someone will say: “so, you’re working for free? Why waste your time?”. This has also crossed my mind. As someone who has a part time job and bills to pay, why would I work for free? Simply saying the experience itself isn’t enough to shift this negativity, so I’m going to explain the reasons why you should consider being an intern and how to go about it.
Being a university student for 5 years, I can assure you I have had my fair share of student life and have gained some wisdom in that time. As highly regarded as university degrees are, the reality is – it’s just a piece of paper (with some knowledge behind it). And sometimes, that knowledge isn’t as useful as one would hope.
So, you finish your degree, you walk out holding that piece of paper, you reach out to employers and what happens? You’ll get asked about what experience you have. Outside those lecture rooms, experience is almost as highly regarded as that piece of paper. An employer needs to see real world examples, know that you understand how an office environment works, know that you’re capable of the job etc etc. The main reason to be an intern is to gain that experience, but you get so much more than that.
I came to Digital Noir with no real direction, I just wanted experience within the creative world. Now look at me, you’re reading my blog post, on their website! Why? Because hard work leads to good places and opportunities. Throughout my internship I have had so many doors open as well as discovering so many things that I enjoy doing. From the basics of experiencing an office environment to expanding my skills within the creative world, my time as an intern has offered more development than I ever received from my university degree. I’ve met other creatives which have led to more opportunities that would have never occurred if I didn’t take that first step. I’ve never enjoyed going to work, in fact to tell you the truth I hated going to my part time job with more passion than I should have. But I enjoyed coming to my internship. This solidified the reasons for why I want to get into the creative world, even if my direction on where I want to be is still blurred.
Reach out! Reach out! Reach out! An internship is not coming to you. You have to chase it.
Step 1: Decide to take the plunge. It’s hard I know, working for free? Yuck! But the opportunities that arise will surprise you.
Step 2: Portfolio. Are you sitting there starting to feel stressed because I said portfolio? That’s okay, I didn’t have one either. It’s not as scary as it sounds. You’re a creator, create! I compiled all my work into one document (InDesign is helpful). My portfolio consisted of videography, photography, design, and mock advertisement work that I have done over the past year. If you don’t have anything yet, just create! Even if your work doesn’t directly relate to the organisation, put it in. None of my work directly related to Digital Noir, and here I am! It demonstrates your creative side and what you can do, and what you could do for them.
Step 3: Search and Email! Google industries in your relevant interest and email them. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t receive a response or someone declines, it’s okay! There are so many opportunities out there in the world, you just need to grab them. I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason, in a particular sequence to lead to that particular place. If that corporate company says no, but that quirky start-up says yes, take the journey as it will lead you forward into something great. Start with introducing yourself and what you’re seeking (internship). Briefly talk about your relevant interests, skills and attach your resume and portfolio to the email. Even if a company isn’t advertising an internship, get in contact. Digital Noir wasn’t advertising, but I really liked the vibe of their website and took the plunge.
Step 4: Be the intern! Embrace it! Take on tasks even if they’re daunting. Ask questions even if you’re shy and take any opportunities that arise. Most importantly, enjoy the experience.
Overall, my time at DN has been a great experience, and something I couldn’t have gained through study alone. I’m walking away with new skills, contacts in the industry and confidence in my ability to bring value to an organisation.