As a student of any kind, you might be expected to do a work placement as part of your course. My journalism course required us to complete at least six weeks of interning in order to graduate, these six weeks taught me as much, if not more about journalism than my course so I would definitely recommend doing work experience even if it’s not part of your course. I was fortunate enough to be offered two weeks of interning at Healthy magazine off the back of my dissertation, Healthy is the only fitness magazine I buy regularly and it was my first work placement in London so I was extra excited about it.
When I arrived at the River offices (where Healthy and other titles like Weight Watchers magazine are made) I felt like I was stepping into a filmset, every surface is glossy white and there’s a fabulous neon blue sign saying River in the reception area. My brilliant supervisor Chez showed me round the offices and showed me where I could get free fruit and healthy snacks from – very fitting for fitness magazine.
While at the Healthy I got to do a variety of tasks from setting up a Healthy Pinterest account, to creating Instagram posts for them and even writing my own guide to plant-based milks which you can have a read of here. By the end of the two weeks I didn’t want to leave because the team was really nice and I got to research and write about things that genuinely interested me. I bought the team some (non-vegan) mini chocolate orange brownies and a cocoa orange Nakd bar for me (I didn’t want to miss out!) on my last day to say thank you for looking after me.
My 5 tips to remember when interning
1. Say yes to everything. I know, you don’t really want to spend all day organising the companies filing system on it or sort out the post but if you say “yes” with a smile to tasks like these, the company will know you’re hardworking and are more likely to invite you back for other opportunities.
2. Be nice to everyone. Creating a good impression while you’re interning doesn’t just happen when you’re at your desk, little things like offering to make everyone coffee or bringing in biscuits on your last day make all the difference. Talk to the cleaners, receptionist, other members of the team and anyone else to find out more about the company and create contacts – you never know who might be able to help you out in the future.
3. Go outdoors on your break. Going from school/college/university into an office job is a bit of a shock to the system. Now you’re chained to a desk (metaphorically, I would hope) for most of the day, you may start to feel groggy and unmotivated but if you spend half an hour walking around outside at lunch you’ll feel so much more refreshed and ready to return in the afternoon.
4. Ask questions. It’s awful when you’ve been given something to do but you have no idea how to do it and everyone’s busy and you’re sat there looking puzzled – I have been there before. But you’ll find it much more productive to ask for help and you will feel more confident next time you’re in a similar situation. I also like to take notes new things I’m learning so I remember how to do them next time.
5. Thank the team for looking after you. As much as you’ve helped them out by working mega hard, they’ve helped you out by taking you on. The experience will look amazing on your CV and if you haven’t enjoyed it as much as you would have liked, you’ll know what sort of thing you don’t want to do in the future. Bring in card and a bunch of flowers or something edible to say thanks for having you.