Working for "nothing" in order to get valuable experience or as part of a course or social charter, is a double edged sword at best. How do you get the best out of one and when do you need to say " no thanks" to an offer ?
My contension is that you need only focus on two the internship : hard skills and the job reference should be your focus above how glamerous the industry and the company's brand name. A lot of very unglamerous people work brand names. Brands are changin fot be with todayommorros!
Is internship worth doing? Were Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ever interns? Are you in fact not better off these days riding the back o
I think I have gone thorugh work placements three times in life now. If you count poorly paid practice work, then there at least two more. Do i feel exploited with this being 10% of my adult life? No . i do however feel that I DID NOT EXPLOIT those placements , and I could have had a lot more out of them if I had been more savvy with neotiating and using my time properly, for ME.
So the rists quesiton is: Is this a placement which will lead to a job here?
Well often no. In fact it can actively work against your best effort given as they may be too emebaressed to carry on exploiting you. On one of my paid situations, which was a pittance, so let us call it an internship, I actually did a better job than my management consultant, and was a threat to him so he managed to brush my work under the carpet and put his name on it after I was going out the door.
If you have a chance of a job, then you are on display and everyone knows that and some will take full advantage of you as the "gofer": cappacinoo round, post office etc. Just like being the noob: but you are not being paid! So in fact you should be able to negotiate yourself be able to negotiate yourself some barriers to this and areas of real responsibility you can fend off the ( usually late 20s., early 30s female or male chauvinist middle aged dicks who like dumping from their small height above the shit steam which they have taken 5 , 10 or even 20 years to rise to)
Of course film companies and some ad agencies rely on gofers to do all the menial stuff, and you are expeted, like being a "fag" at english private schools, to go through it with stiff upper lio and duly pass-it-on to the next generation.
However, I advice avoiding those;: Menial work experience is menial work experience what ever the brand. Are you better to be an intern at McCanns or a branch manager at MacDonalds for your finance-crisis experience job? If you are going to work for free, then you have to get gold worht out of it.
WTFINIT FM: What the F' is in it FOR ME? But also, what can I wangle out of it in terms of knowlegde and bartering or siexing opportunities further.
You have to set out what they will be able to involve you in, what "systems" ( not just IT; but the logistical, financial and legal process that go on in a branch and the cander and not least jargon the people have )
It would be a good principle for real jobs: stipulate what you will NOT do! In fact, the spoilt brats here in Norway do that or try that on, and thus make me and many immigrant females much more attractive for the price tag because we actually work for a living and will fetch an occiasional coffee without feeling demeaned!
THink not only that you will get one step nearer your dream job, but also that you will get a sellable skill out of it. For example, ERP systems: can you send out invoices and check them in on system against purchase orders-? Can you check and file technical and ISO documents? These are actually well paid jobs in oil, health and research industries! They can be very good fill in jobs post internship and also USPs for you selling yourself into a dream job
In fact your internship may take different perspective on this: do a hard skill in IT, or in say print finishing or writing as your internship in an unglamerous company ( go-ugly-early, see an earlier blog of mine)
having worked in sales a couple of years prior do doing my masters in marketing, I found that more of a hindrance than a benefit, because on the one side it was not relevant to the services and consumer product marketing I wanted to get into, and on the other it made me better qaulified to do a marketing job than many of the marketing managers interviewing me! I had no real focus, and in life, you need focus. You need to have a real lust to go somewhere and then the path becomes clearer, or rather obvious blind alleys become blatantly obvious!
As a management consultant I have advised technology companies not to offer free trials of their products. The reason is simple: if there is no monetary value on a project, there is no loss in shelving it. People's time on both sides are just washed away. So putting a price on a product or technology trial, or service test means it has a value and a loss to be incurred if it is halted.
This is the same for internships: if you are not getting paid you are both expendable and not maybe worth involving in higher risk or longer term projects an customers.
The absolute core of What is In It for Me is meeting people. However, as a lowly intern you will see more snobbery and protectionism than win-win move on to a better job sitation. Hard skills are always better when you are a graduate, because you have just stooped so low as to be an intern in the eyes of many. In one sense, doing an internship in something glamerous or somethign dreary, which leads to nothing is a loser position and you have brought it upon yourself! You have nothing to lose in negotitating some responisbility and training. Walk away
In the USA many "glamerous" intenrships are shop windows for the offspring of the mature Ivy League, and pilgim vieux riche. They are there to drop the name of their parents or rich freinds to the industry front door. So why compete? If you bring no family , friends and Ivy League contacts for the companies to use you a bit more when they give you a job, be wary.
So that is one rule: do not go where there are a lot of interns and some of those are on an obvious rider
What shape? That is the crux now you see : what shape the internship: like my last one, is it to be an 80% position so you can work part time or take the kids to-from day prison? Are you to get some hard skill training and experience in return for making coffee and doing the post run? What will you sit in on?
The one key thing you will get out on the people side is a reference. THis is the best thing. But remember not everyone in a company needs to be your referee, so why treat them like that if there is no job there. I didn't laterly. You have to impress two people : your boss as a reference and someone higher up, maybe even the MD. You then have to appear industrious to people who influence them, and also not to appear a " facebook" addict to the trash who work reception etc. This is all easy: Suck up, shit down, keep out of trouble, use your mobile for facebooking.