It’s not enough to just do an internship.

In my few years in the media, I’ve seen so many interns come and go.

They’re always lovely. Polite and curious and wide-eyed about how an actual company works in real-time.

Mostly, the 12 weeks come to an end without a glimpse of a job offer. That’s the case because, more often than not, the company isn’t looking for any junior hires at that moment in time – not because the intern is slow or inadequate.

And so, a huge element of getting hired after an internship is timing. Huge. A heap of varying factors need to fall into place at precisely the right time for you to be picked up; something that’s so important for passionate 20-somethings to remember if they feel like they want to demolish 20 bags of Doritos in disappointment.

The chances were slim. It’s not personal. The odds were against you.

But.

There is a big, fat, significant but.

You’ll never have a chance at all if you simply just show up.

Once in the industry, you learn very quickly which interns are and aren’t cut out for the job based on their attitude alone. If they roll in five minutes late every week. If they rock up unprepared for the morning meeting. If they don’t know really anything about the people they’re working for. If they coast through, doing what’s asked of them and not a thing more.

Newsflash: Getting accepted into an internship is the moment the real work starts. You need to do so much more than the bare minimum.

You’re lovely and, I’m sure, a special little snowflake, but if you do the same stuff every other intern does, you’re not exactly selling yourself as Employee Prospect of the Decade.

So, if you’re looking for a full-time job in your chosen career, let me tell you: Rocking up is not enough.

If you want a crack at that slim, elusive chance of a job, you need to be noticed. And aside from your attitude (preferably enthusiastic, positive, motivated) being noticed largely boils down to one completely underrated characteristic.

Attention to detail. (I would scream these three words from the top of the SEEK and Indeed head offices if they’d allow me past security. Admittedly, I haven’t tried, but I don’t like my chances.)

The number of times incomplete work has been filed to me from an intern is baffling. Spelling errors. A failure to read and follow instructions. Incorrect dates and names. A litany of mistakes.

Mistakes that are totally, wholly avoidable.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK to screw up – you’re there to learn. You’re not going to be perfect and nobody expects you to be. But it’s taking on feedback, learning from your mistakes, and taking pride in your work that will ultimately make you stand out.

Having great attention to detail will actually set you up for a pretty impressive career.

If you’re going to commit to an internship, I recommend you throw yourself in head-first. Put your hand up for extra tasks and projects. Be willing to stay back. Get there early.

Do everything you can to make someone high in the hierarchy pop their head up and say, “What’s that intern’s name? They’re good.”

Want something career-related you need to get off your chest? Chat with me in the comments xx

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