What I’ve Learnt from Taking Internships

It’s a fact: An excellent degree does not secure you a job. On the competitive market companies are fishing out the ones with a degree… and experience. When I was in my early twenties, with my Bachelor’s degree in German Language and Culture in my pocket, I was desperately looking for an internship. Getting one seemed impossible. All job descriptions sounded like they were looking for a 20-year-old person with 10 years of experience in the industry, at least 5 foreign languages, willing to work full time for free or pittance. It might be discouraging…

I was lucky. In half a year I was able to do three internships as Marketing Assistant, Copy Writer in an advertisement agency and as Journalist in a multimedia company. I definitively did not become rich, but when I look back I can see how much I’ve learnt and how much they gave me.

  1. I learnt what I DON’T like
    During my first internship as Marketing Assistant I quickly found out that maintaining distribution lists in an Excel spread sheet is something what I deeply can’t stand. I realized that repetitive tasks where I cannot use even a sparkle of my creativity bore me ruthlessly. An internship gives you an opportunity to find out what your personal preferences are and narrow down your future professional choices.
  2. Networking, networking, networking
    I’ve learnt that meeting people and connecting with them is really important. If your internship won’t be able to secure you a standard position, people from the industry know other people and might connect you with them. Don’t underestimate the vitamin C (connections), you never know when you might need to apply a dose.
  3. The power of my enthusiasm
    Before applying for internships I never got to see what kind of first impression I make on people. I noticed that my enthusiasm, willingness to learn and work are welcome by my interviewers. It showed me that people decide whether they want to work with you not purely on your resume, but they value someone’s character and charisma. I learnt to use my positive attitude in any future interviews. Guess what? It works! So far I always got an offer after being interviewed face to face.
  4. A real perspective
    An internship can be a trial what a real work life would feel like. It gives you a taste of what it might be as a permanent employee. You get to see people coming early to do yesterday’s work and staying late to do today’s work. You meet people struggling with bringing children to school and picking them up. You observe people having fun in the canteen, those with high working ethics and these that follow the hands of the clock and can’t wait to leave. Which person would you like to be?
  5. Experience
    Yes! After finishing an internship you can finally fill a gap in your resume and show your next employer that you have some experience. You learnt a bit about the industry and the variety of tasks. You know how the professional environment feels, and have a better understanding of what your next job should look like. Finally, you gained more confidence to apply for new jobs!

Tell us your experience! Have you ever done an internship? What did you gain? Are you thinking of becoming an intern? Let us know!

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