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When it comes to internships, there’s a stigma and one that is not wholly accurate. While you may be expected to get coffee, run errands for Directors/Managers and receive minimal pay (if at all!), internships have adapted over the years and now offer a whole new wealth of possibilities. With plans to eliminate the dreaded unpaid internships, interning will continue to be a crucial – but fairer – means for students and graduates to get their foot in their chosen industries.

Here’s what you can expect, and most importantly, what is pure fantasy.

FICTIONFACT
I’m a walking, talking coffee machine: Although we cannot guarantee you won’t be making coffee, this will not be your sole responsibility. Personally, I didn’t make one cup of tea or coffee as an intern, and instead, they kept me hydrated. The only time I went on a “coffee run” was because my Line Manager needed an extra pair of hands and I offered mine.

They’re going to exploit me: Of course, there are many internships that will only offer to pay expenses, and sadly there is no way around it. Interns need to grab what they can, but besides from the poor pay, they will not make you feel devalued and usually love to show newbies the ropes. To ensure they don’t leave you out or assign you to filing or other admin tasks, talk to them, show them you care and prove yourself. There is no initiation or hazing, but companies (such as Penguin) go through so many internship programmes they can forget that you’re there.

Internships are a waste of time: People underestimate the power of internships and think they can land a job instantly out of university without interning. For some industries, that may be the case, but for future writers, editors and publishers, internships are crucial and usually needed to start their careers.

Even though you may spend six months unpaid (or receiving less than minimum wage), these small setbacks and ordeals will make you more hireable than those who have not undergone a single internship. I’ve worked two internships, and although they taught me valuable skills, they also managed to clarify that I did instead want to be a writer and editor.

It Opens Many Doors: Not all internships are fun, but most of the time they’re needed to get ahead of everyone else. All internships are different so make sure to only take part in the ones that matter and can offer you career advancements. If you’re wanting to go into publishing, keep an eye open for major companies offering intern programmes, or if writing is your ideal job, then write to local newspapers/magazines. Not only will they teach you important skills, but can solidify whether this is the industry you wish to work in as well as learn what it’s like to hold down a job. After years of studying and being a student, you’re bound to be shocked by the work of a full-time job!

Offers Vital Networking: Internships allow you to network and connect (both digitally over LinkedIn & personally) with people who could have influence and power in the sector you wish to work. Not only does the company you intern at offer potential prestige, but it also creates a strong list of references that can help you get through the door for future employment.

You Can Gain Confidence: I am a sucker for low self-esteem, and in the past, it has held me back from going for the positions I’ve wanted, or from showing my writing to friends/family. To this day, I am still incredibly secretive with my creative writing and will not let a soul read it until completion. However, after travel blogging, having my articles posted on a travel magazine’s website, and interning at Penguin, I have a better sense of worth, and this came across in my interviews which managed to impress them.

Internships do, of course, have cons – the worst of all being the lack of substantial pay. However, there are rumours of this exploitation ending shortly, meaning internships will no longer be catered for the rich and can help those who do not have the finances or luxury of living in or around London.

Overall, internships are a must for writers and future editors. It’ll make the job search easier, and publishers are more likely to consider someone who has proven themselves to love the industry regardless of pay.

About The Author

Profile photo of Sophie Goodall

Originates from a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, UK. Graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London with a degree in English Literature and Creative writing. Aspiring novelist; lover of films and filmmaking; forever exploring a deeper meaning in everything. Travelled Australia and Japan, and am now a paid writer and editor.