Day 249: A Beginner’s Guide to Interning…

Hello, hello, hello!

It has been far too long since we last spoke. All sorts of wonderful things have happened. I have graduated and am now contemplating changing my title to The Clever Asparagus BA (Hons) – I joke!

Since leaving university, my days have consisted of commuting to London each day in an attempt to become the next Anna Wintour… it hasn’t quite happened yet, but I’m working on it.


My intentions were to give you a weekly update of the work experience and internships that I have been doing. However, having just completed internship no.3, I have far too much to relay and the last thing I want to do is bore you.

Somewhere along the line, I signed a confidentiality agreement, so legally I can’t divulge all the juicy gossip anyway. Hmm… am I working for magazines or MI5?

A Beginner’s Guide to Nando’s was quite a success, so I have compiled A Beginner’s Guide to Interning, with ten top tips. Some of this may seem really obvious, but it’s shocking the simple mistakes you hear about. Even if you aren’t looking to intern, this guide applies to many jobs…

1) You will probably be asked to make tea. Deal with it. If you aren’t asked, offer anyway. This is your opportunity to communicate with the whole team. It’s amazing how much a cup of Earl Grey can brighten someone’s day.

2) If you are affectionately known as the ‘coffee b*tch’, be the best darn ‘coffee b*tch’ the company have ever had. Take on the persona of Father Ted’s Mrs. Doyle – consider using an Irish accent if it helps.

3) Sent on errands that involve money? Always get a receipt – granted this might not be so easy if you’ve been sent out for illicit substances.                                           Disclaimer: I have only ever been asked to buy food, cigarettes and lattes!

4) If you don’t have a brilliant memory, write everything down. A request might not seem important at the time, but you may be taken up on it later on. It’s more efficient to look back at your notes than to continually pester your employers.

5) So, you didn’t write something down. You’re not quite sure what to do. Do ask. Asking is better than getting it completely wrong.

6) Keep it professional. Of course you should engage with the people around you. However, never give too many details about your personal life. You’re not on the payroll yet – your boss doesn’t need to hear about your sexual history or drunken antics – regardless of how hilarious you think your tales are.

7) This is the most obvious, the one you hear all the time: Be punctual!! Of course there will be days when your train is late. However, being late every day translates as unreliable. Unreliable equals unemployable.

8) Explore! If you’re in a beautiful city, like London, make the most of your breaks and take a look around. Just remember to come back on time.

9) Consider taking a packed lunch. As an intern, your pay will be low – that’s if you’re getting paid at all. Lunching at Pret every day starts to add up.

10) Stick it out and enjoy it. Interning is such a great opportunity to figure out what you want to do. Even if you hate your placement, don’t quit. The contacts you meet and the references you walk away with will come in really handy one day.

The Silly Asparagus is not claiming to be an expert, but following these tips should prevent you from making any major mistakes.

Some of you reading this will completely disagree with the internship system. But it’s unlikely to change anytime soon, so make the best of it. A majority of journalists will have been an intern at some point in their career. For every job you refuse to do, there are plenty of others willing to snap up the opportunity.

If you have any questions regarding interning at all, please leave me a comment below or drop me an email at: thesillyasparagus@live.co.uk. I’ll do my best to help.

On Wednesday, I begin a very exciting internship with cosmopolitan.co.uk. I cannot wait to get started. Wish me luck!

Talk to you soon.

Remember to send me your questions and I will feature them on here.

With Love,

The Silly Asparagus. x

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One thought on “Day 249: A Beginner’s Guide to Interning…

  1. Would definitely agree with all of this.. maybe add ‘always volunteer to go the extra mile’ – when someone (often in a position not as senior as the people you usually answer to) is moaning about how they’re not going to get something done on time, offer to help (if you have time and it doesn’t mean neglecting your own duties!). Sure, this led to me once hand delivering about 70 envelopes in the W1 postcode by foot on a quiet rainy afternoon, but it was my first week and the guy was so grateful he made sure I was put forwards for better ‘intern tasks’ and looked after me that little bit more! Also never bitch about someone when you’re not 100% sure they aren’t in the office somewhere… saw a girl get almost literally thrown out the door when the boss walked in while she was doing an (albeit hilarious) impression of her. Definitely agree on pret vs packed lunches too – it’s a tough addiction to kick!

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