An intern’s guide to internship success

At the Internship Hub our students start and finish their internships at various stages throughout the year. That being said, we know summer is a bit of a peak for us in terms of lots of students taking part in work experience during their time off.

With this in mind, we thought we’d share some top tips on how to really maximise the benefits of an internship. And who better to do this than some of our previous interns who truly got the most out of their experience.

 

Leah Panton (Politics) interned with EdTech start up Estendio:

I first used the Internship Hub during 3rd year when I applied for the Glasgow City Council summer internship programme and I was fortunate to be offered a position as the ‘Innovation Intern’. This involved working in one of Glasgow’s newest start-up incubators, and during my time I met a host of exciting companies including an EdTech start-up called Estendio.

A year and a half later, I was seeking a graduate position and was feeling disheartened with online recruitment tests. I then became aware of a marketing internship that Estendio was offering via the Internship Hub and despite not having initially thought about working in marketing, I knew that it was a great opportunity.

I was successful in being offered the 8-week internship which involved preparing for the launch of Estendio’s App Present Pal, and afterwards I was asked to stay on in a full-time capacity as ‘Head of Communications’ – I was delighted! I have already experienced so many fantastic things within this role, such as working with Microsoft and winning £50k at Scottish Edge.

My advice is:

Use the position to your full advantage by meeting with and talking to new people. Connecting with Estendio during my first internship with Glasgow City Council put me in a stronger position to land my second internship… so network, network, network!

 

Katie Rice (French/Management Studies) interned on-campus with the John Smith Centre:

Last summer I secured a position as an Events Intern with the John Smith Centre for Public Service, based in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University. The Centre works to improve the quality of representative politics by widening access for young people, and encouraging meaningful conversations about public service.

The Centre runs a programme of events throughout the year, and my internship focussed heavily on supporting the Centre Development Manager to organise and deliver the inaugural John Smith Centre Public Service conference, including a lecture from Sir John Major.

I had a great year as an intern, and when the opportunity came up to take a full-time role as an administrator for the Centre, I jumped at the chance. I started my new position at the beginning of May, and I’m really enjoying building on the things I learnt from my internship.

My advice is:

  • Make a good impression by nailing the simple things: be on time, be presentable, be reliable, and be honest and realistic about what you can achieve.
  • It’s also important to ask questions and get involved, but don’t be afraid of making suggestions and sharing your ideas too.
  • To make the most out of your experience, be ready and willing to learn, but also prepared to take on some responsibility and push your comfort zone a little. Internships are also a great chance to network and open yourself up to future career opportunities!

 

Amanda Gavin (History) interned with the Scottish Civic Trust:

I first joined the Scottish Civic Trust as the Doors Open Days Project Intern through the Internship Hub in 2017 and now, almost two years later, I am the Communications and Events Officer. When I was an intern at SCT my job didn’t even exist yet, so don’t feel disheartened if there isn’t a position available to apply for at the end of an internship.

In 2017 I had just completed my undergraduate degree in History, had some experience as a volunteer guide for the National Trust for Scotland, and many years’ experience working in hospitality alongside my studies. In the third sector, and heritage, in particular, the amount of voluntary work required to meet the requirements for an entry level position can be a barrier. Being able to apply to a paid internship through the Internship Hub opened doors that would otherwise have been closed for me – Doors Open Days pun not intended.

I assisted in the national co-ordination of Doors Open Days, a month-long free festival that happens every weekend in September. I gained practical skills, such as writing content for the website, using a content management system and scheduling posts for social media. But I also gained a greater understanding of the heritage sector as a whole.

My advice is:

  • Know that your enthusiasm and willingness to learn will serve you well and no one will expect you to be an expert. Do not be afraid to ask questions or to admit that you are unsure how to do something. For instance, I had to admit that I had no idea how to turn on an ‘out of office’!
  • If there is something you are really interested in learning more about then it never hurts to ask – I was able to gain extra experience through shadowing the Heritage Officer.
  • Finally, the end of your internship doesn’t need to be a goodbye. I had a really great experience in my internship and kept in touch with the SCT team through email and by attending and volunteering at a couple of their events, and later was part of their young person’s panel. Around eight months after finishing my internship I got a temporary job managing the social media and website content for SCT

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