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7 Career Lessons I Learned from Interning in Different Fields

If you’re one of the thousands of newly graduated millennials who aren’t quite sure what they want to do with their lives, a great option is to take some time to intern in various professions and fields. This will help prevent you from diving headfirst into a low-paid job which holds no appeal.

Here are some of the things I learned through interning in a variety of different sectors.

1. There are always menial tasks to be done that require almost no skill

Regardless of whether you’re working in publishing or scientific research, low-skill admin will always exist and if you’re at the bottom of the company food chain, you’ll be required to do the bulk of it. Don’t complain, accept this as part of every entry-level job, put in the extra effort to get through it and work your way up.

2. You should reply to the bosses emails ASAP

Whilst some bosses are fine about delayed responses to emails, you’ll get sharp words from others if you’ve not got back to them in five minutes. Everyone appreciates a quick response when they send an email.

Whether it’s the answer to a quick query or a reply explaining how and when you’ll be able to deal with a larger issue, always reply to your superiors emails as quickly as you can. You will come across as capable and reliable if you stick to this policy.

3. Office politics exist everywhere

The complicated groupings and politics of the working world can prove somewhat puzzling to a new grad – but never fear, if you’re working in a lot of different places you’ll see a whole range of office altercations!

Despite the range of company structures, relationships and hierarchies, you’ll soon learn that it’s impossible to find one where there is no tension or careful relationship tactics between members of the office. Here are some tips on how to deal with even the most difficult work problems.

4. Different fields value different things

Whilst your skills with Excel and Microsoft Word may make you the budding star of one company, you’ll find yourself hopelessly unequipped to work in another industry. And while humility may seem like common sense, too many new graduates believe that just because they’ve excelled in their History or Math’s degree, the working world will universally view them as the bright spark that will propel their company into the future.

Do you research to find out what skills are required for the careers you are interested in pursuing and get additional training where needed. It will be worth the extra effort when you get hired on by the company you are interning at because you had the right qualifications.

5. Working hard will get you noticed

Whether you’re staying late, offering to take on additional tasks (no matter how dull and routine) and not complaining when landed with a large quantity of work, you are likely to earn yourself a good reputation at work.

Rather than striving to occupy the limelight all of the time, let the work you produce do the talking – if it’s of sufficient quality, it will be noticed.

6. Dress appropriately

If every month is spent on a new internship in a new office, you will quickly learn to dress smartly on your first day and subsequently adjust your style to the office as is appropriate.

Whilst you may have dressed very casually for one publishing internship, remember that each new company will have a new code of conduct and casual clothing may not be appropriate for another publishing firm.

7. Keep in contact once you leave

Whilst networking is a crucial part of any job, when interning keeping in contact with the company and your boss is particularly important.

This can lead to future job opportunities and, if you nurture the relationship, could give you a careers mentor to help guide you through the months ahead and help you make additional contacts.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you find a suitable career path after graduation? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Alexandra Jane

Alexandra Jane writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, who specialize in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs listings for roles.