This post has been a long time coming and is probably my most requested post to date, plenty of you loved the idea when I originally proposed popping this up but I wanted to get the most experience from my internship before posting this.
Most of you will know that I started interning at Gleam back in June, I still feel so privileged to have been given the chance to work there as it is the career that I ideally want to pursue. I interned at Gleam until the end of August when I was gratefully offered a three month placement, which I'm currently on now. Gleam stuck out to me as it not only offered a glimpse into the world of community management and social media, but they are UK's forerunner in talent management. I have had a lot of people tweet me regarding working there, particularly about the talent that Gleam look after- Tanya Burr, Zoella, Pointless Blog etc.. but there really is much more to it than watching my favourite YouTubers, and the odd tweet.
First Tip: Keep your eyes peeled NOW, even if you're not after an internship until next year it is always beneficial to look out for opportunities early on. Twitter is your best friend when it comes to this. I followed various Beauty/Fashion PR agencies, social media agencies and brands and the people who work in the sectors I was interested in. Okay, okay this may sound slightly stalkerish but it's worth it. I found lot's of relevant people via Linkedin and by simple research - check out a PR's/brands contact page on their website - look out for author names within magazines or press releases. I went for my interview at Gleam back in January, whilst I was still at University. I let them know I would be available come Summer time and would love to intern then, not only was it a relief to have something ready and sorted post graduation, but it gave me time to do my research.
I'm not the most forward person, I am quite shy and reserved so I made an conscious effort to get to know the company before my interview. This could range from simply looking at their website and twitter feed to researching the clients they have. In my case this was particularly fun as I got to watch lot's of my favourite youtubers and discuss this with them during my interview. Say you were interviewing for a magazine - stock up on past issues, pick out your favourite authors and articles of interest. Jot down ideas of what you would like to see them feature. If you're going into an interview with no knowledge of the company/brands they cover then it will probably show.
Be yourself: Now, this sounds ridiculously generic but it's true. Don't lie to try an impress, it's most likely you'll be found out. Admit and fess up when you don't understand something, don't be afraid to ask questions - even if they seem silly to you. I was a total newbie when it came to excel and had to ask lot's of questions when creating spreadsheets and databases, which now seem SO simple, but now I know. It's not always best to be overly confident and out there either, this can sometimes be misconstrued as arrogance or just down right annoying. I think a healthy mix of professionalism and friendly chat is best, but again it is all dependent on who you are working for and what they expect from you.
Find out what's expected of you: Ask about expenses, dress code, and the role you will be fulfilling beforehand. You don't want to start interning with no idea what you're supposed to be doing, or in a department you're not enthusiastic about. Make sure you get the facts and let them know the career you're aiming for, as they'll probably be able to give you some pointers. I was lucky and landed a fab bunch of girls, and Dom!, to work alongside, which made it all the more easy to fit in and feel part of the team. Unfortunately, not all internships are like that and you might be seen as the lowest link in the food chain but persevere and be the best you you can be, even if they're not so pleasant in return.
Put yourself out there and go the extra mile: You may be working for 'free' (most companies cover travel expenses) but that doesn't mean you can slack off and only do the minimum set for you. I kept a notebook with notes of what I thought could help the company, and reached out when I was running low on work or wanted to try something new. I try to make it a point to learn as much as I can from all the different branches of Gleam - from community management, which involves coverage of the clients social media, creating content, and blogger outreach - to talent management, which catered to events, brand campaigns and lot's of databases to be kept up to date. Even if a task does feel repetitive, remember there are plenty of other people who would like to be there, so put a smile on your face and do everything to the best of your ability.
Skills: I do recommend sharpening up your powerpoint, google doc, and excel skills - these are needed pretty much every day so it's well worth investing some time in. Keep up to date with the latest beauty/fashion events and related news - I find keeping pinterest boards really help to inspire me when creating content and coming up with ideas. You will probably be asked to do the little jobs no one else wants to do, for example keeping stock and tidying the beauty cupboard, but most people start out this way so try not to get too big for your boots and make that cupboard the best it can be!
You may be the most efficient and enthused intern and you might not be offered a placement afterwards, but don't let that get you down. Create friendly relationships and you'll be remembered, networking is great for making contacts and you're not leaving with nothing, you're leaving with experience that you didn't have previously. PR agencies tend to look for a minimum of 3 months experience in the field I have found and lot's of people even intern for up to a year at various places, so keep at it, remember a good cup of tea always goes down a treat, and you'll get there if you want it enough. If you're passionate, friendly, and committed this will show and you're more likely to be kept on or receive a good reference.
Good luck! If you have any questions just let me know in the comments!