Internships are nerve-racking, exciting, ball-busting, full-on experiences. They test your metal and, if you’re lucky, spit you out the other side with a bunch of new skills and a whole new perspective on this ‘career’ thing that everyone talks about . Recent Sunrise Cambodia intern, Ellen Dann, lays out her top 5 tips for being a rock star intern while packing loads of new skills in the bag to take home.
This past July, I got my first taste of an experience that those lucky university students manage to get before graduating: I got to be an intern.
A lot of university degrees require graduates to do an internship and most degrees encourage it. In my degree (Bachelor of International Studies at the University of Queensland) internships are highly valued. They give graduates hands on experience in the kinds of jobs they are likely to apply for after they leave uni and they give you a whole set of skills that just can’t be crammed into a four-year academic degree.
Knowing this, I applied for an internship with Sunrise Cambodia in my winter uni break – and got it! After four weeks interning in the Sydney Sunrise office, I finished up more excited, organised, and so ready to graduate and get stuck in to beginning my career. I’ve also learnt some awesome new skills that will help me in my last semester of uni and on into my future job – whatever that happens to be.
A lot of different tasks came my way during my internship with Sunrise Cambodia – from being a hand model for a Facebook ad, to helping to plan and launch the inaugural speakers event, #LikeaBOSS despite knowing nothing about events, speakers, or WordPress when I walked through the door. Each one of these tasks helped me learn. A LOT. It’s hard to wrangle out the important gems from a whole month of learning, but here are my top five things I learnt to help any intern stay sane, gather some amazing skills on the job and be a rock star intern that the team want forget!
Keep a list. You’ll be happy you did
Some days are crazy busy while others are not. Sometimes you’re thrown a bunch of things to do, and other times you’re left to your own devices. During those hectic times, jot down EVERYTHING, so that nothing slips through the cracks. This keeps you organised and on top of everything, and makes you look super impressive when you hand in all these completed tasks that your boss may have forgotten was given to you.
Google is your new best friend
In any internship, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to do some things you haven’t done before, and quite possibly have no clue how to do. But never fear. Whether it’s a yahoo answer or a step-by-step professional guide, Google will have the answer. It seems basic, but it’s also a great way to take initiative and problem solve on your own. Your boss will LOVE that you didn’t have to ask them how to do it and, let’s face it, if the answer is on Google, you’re not the first person to ask…
Some graphic and web design skills never hurt anyone
As someone with no artistic ability and the most basic technological skills, being asked to make some changes to an event website was somewhat daunting. Not only did I (thankfully) manage to edit the website without completely destroying anything, but I also learnt how, in this ever-expanding world, basic technology and digital media skills are a nice addition to your skill set. Organisations love you having skills that save them time and money. Digital and design skills can be applied across so many different industries and you don’t have to be a pro coder to find your way around the back-end of a WordPress website.
Push ups are just as good as coffee
I’m pretty crazy in love with caffeine, but working for 8 hours at a computer can take a toll that not even my beloved skinny flat white can solve. Never fear though, as digital manager, Imogen showed me that push-ups will boost your energy levels, so you can continue to smash that computer work without fading out. Of course, double coated Tim Tams don’t hurt either.
It’s not about the money
I’ve never been someone that needed money to be happy (sure it doesn’t hurt, but at the end of the day it really isn’t everything) and this belief was re-affirmed after this internship. Not only did I gain great experience in the workforce I want to be a part of, I got to live in Sydney for a month, which is pretty exciting for a girl from Brisbane that was still mourning the end of her exchange. You have your whole life to earn money – you have NOW to gather experiences, skills and a whole new insight into your future.
We love having hard-working, dedicated interns like Ellen at Sydney HQ! Apply for an internship now.