Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Making the Most of Your Publishing Internship

BookEnds has been hiring interns for years. As someone who started her career as an intern I believe strongly in them. I believe it was because of my internships that I stood out as a viable job candidate and eventually landed where I am today.

Internships are also a great way to learn the ropes of any business to see if it's something you really want to do. A good internship also teaches you so much more than just what this job is probably like. Each of the three assistants BookEnds has had over the years all started as interns and we constantly have conversations about the interns we wish we could snap up before someone else does.

So what has made these interns stand out over the others? It was their ability to make the most of their internship while they were here, and even after they'd gone.

Intern Do's

  1. Be proactive. If you are asked to file, each day you come into the office check the filing and get it done. Getting jobs done without being asked make you stand out as the person we'd want to see every day.
  2. Talk and ask questions. The more you participate in meetings, group discussions or just ask questions the more memorable you become.
  3. Take initiative. If you think of a better way to do something do it, or ask to do it. Maybe the bookshelves are a mess and you'd be happy to organize them or you've noticed that some of the files have been wrecked and everything is out of order. As if you can fix. Or go ahead and fix. 
  4. Keep in touch. Obviously when the internship ends it's good to send a thank you, but it's even better to keep in touch for long after that. Let the people, or person, you've been working for know when you're looking for a job or where you're going on job interviews. The more you keep people updated the more top of mind you'll stay.
  5. Have fun and learn. That's really what it's all about.
Intern Don'ts

  1. Don't miss days. Sometimes it happens. You're sick or something personal comes up, but you are presumably only there for a few days a week so make it as often as humanly possible.
  2. Don't expect that your only job will be to read. Reading is something few of us in publishing get to do on a daily basis and while it does tend to be a huge part of an intern's job, sitting quietly and reading all day is not going to be where you learn the most.
  3. Ignore someone's request for you to do something just because you don't like to do it.
  4. Be afraid. We were all in your position once and we don't expect you to know everything. We want to teach you so there's nothing to be afraid of.
We love our interns and want each of them to be successful, but we can't force it to happen, you need to come in prepared to be successful too.


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