The internship—home to trial, and its twin brother error
Young professionals need internships.
But they often come at a cost instead of an earning, as they don’t come without their flaws (read: coffee runs might just become your new cardio.)
As well as limitations, internships have real benefits too.
What if I told you it could bring you one step closer to figuring out what you want to do with your career? Or allows you to discover what you value most—even outside of work?
Tune in on the first episode of my personal development plan, by some called a career.
In this article, I will discuss my internship at Your Majesty and how it impacted my professional life. Being born a millennial, yet being raised among fellow Gen Z’ers, I don’t want to put pressure this early on.
Before I share my learnings I want to acknowledge the unnecessary pressure placed on young people to find their ‘dream job’—this is only the fulfilment of every capitalist's dream. As a generation that enhances work, we shouldn’t become afraid of the mundane. A job is equally as good as your dream job, not everything you do needs to be high-effort, high-reward. You should watch out for the parasite of errand paralysis at all times.
But what we do have, is the opportunity to shape what we do for a living, and therefore an internship provides the ideal start of your experiential journey. Learning by doing.
Or, as Arthur Brooks writes it’s the first chance to ‘find your marshmallow’, a metaphor for your professional calling. After my first marshmallow nibble—here’s what I learned from my internship that may help guide your path.
Bring your personality to your resume
If you're still wondering what your true USP is—it is you.
When applying for internships, everyone does the same thing. Put your proven skills and relevant experience onto a piece of A4 paper and send it out into the ether with good vibes, hopes, and prayers.
But think of it from the employer's perspective—they must get hundreds of A4 pieces of paper. How will yours grab their attention?
Talk about the kind of person you are (they are hiring a human, after all). Find out how who you are can reflect the company you’re applying to. Doesn’t this ring a bell? Take an online personality test. Which values of vision do you share? And how can you transfer who you are to this A4 piece of paper?
Through the design.
Through the tone.
Through the content.
Put yourself forward
As an intern you’re unlikely to have much experience. That’s okay. You don’t need to apologise for what you don’t have, instead focus on what you do have. Talk about your vision, what you’d like to get out of the experience, what you want to achieve and what you can offer.
Soft skills, unlike degrees, and years of service are hard to quantify—but these are often valued even more by employers as they are much harder to teach.
For me that meant when applying to Your Majesty, I focused on my innate nature of curiosity. It’s something the company clearly values and enables—it was the common ground beyond my years of experience.
Finally, don’t underestimate yourself. Just because you don’t have enough experience or the ‘right’ experience doesn’t mean you won’t be a valuable team member. Job titles may change, but every skill is transferable. It’s proven that women get mostly affected by this. They will only put themselves forward unless they are confident in meeting every criterion of the job role. It’s a trend that needs to quit asap. To get equal chances, we have to take the plunge too.
For others to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself first. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself as it may stop you from trying at all. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”.
Find an employer you share values with and who invests in you
One of the main drawbacks of internships is not using your time effectively enough. Photocopying might be “character building” but won't help you excel. Find an employer that respects its employees—how they treat their interns will say a lot about what they are as a company.
Too often getting out of your comfort zone is praised as the best way to learn, but early in your career is about finding a company where you are able to define your comfort zone. Figure out what works best for you. How you like to work with others. What environment makes you most productive or happiest. You need to understand your limits first, and afterwards, you can start pushing them.
At Your Majesty, I was encouraged
To question the status quo.
To be critical.
To not settle.
Once you realize everything can be taught, everyone feels way more approachable. They had to learn everything one day as well. And equally important, join the office banter! Your workplace also hired you for who you are.
While you’re here anyways, act as a knowledge sponge—absorb it all. You’re surrounded by people with more experience and knowledge than you, don’t be afraid to ask for their time (but make sure you have clear objectives when doing so).
Push for what you want—your internship will be largely defined by yourself. To avoid the not-so-glamorous tasks make it clear what you want to achieve and what you want to learn. And then, once you start achieving these goals—don’t be afraid to communicate that verbally or non-verbally to your boss. Assuming you’d like to continue working at the company beyond the internship pitch for yourself to go full time. Prove the value you’ve added to the team and what you can continue to do in the future.
For me, that meant listing my achievements and tracking my own growth through progress reviews. Reflect first, plan for the future second.
If you know where your talent lies, and the space where you wish you were talented at, it’s only a matter of execution and speaking up for yourself and expressing those wishes. I always clearly expressed in which areas I wanted to grow and become an expert, therefore a role got created that fitted my talents and was a real challenger at the same time.
The past few months ended up being my springboard, guiding me exactly in the direction where I want to be, namely building my career at the intersection of marketing and sales.
Interested in joining us?
Your Majesty is looking for new talent! Have a look at our open positions including an open application for internships.