Internships are a big part of most poly students’ lives. Like most final-year students, I was required to work together with my school to do a graded internship.
Since my 5-month internship with SmileTutor as a Content Writer Intern is drawing to a close, I’d like to share with you my experience — I that it will help you to be more prepared if you’re applying for an internship soon.
Sourcing an Internship
Different schools may have different systems. For mine, the school gave us a list of companies that were offering internships to us, but you can also self-source a company of your own choice. In that case, you will have to communicate with the company on your own and make sure that they are looking to hire an intern.
As media students, the positions were all media-related, such as marketing, social media, videography etc. After going through modules in school, I had an inclination towards writing, so I was looking out for writing positions.
I came across SmileTutor in the list and saw that they were looking for a Content Writer Intern. The job scope matched what I was interested in, which was writing.
When choosing your intern company, it is important to do your research. The first thing I did was to search for their website. I was impressed by its nice layout and I couldn’t find any dysfunctional buttons.
To me, these are signs that the company is organised and takes their work seriously!
SmileTutor seemed like the company that I was looking for to complete my 5-month internship, so I decided to put them as my first choice. I crossed my fingers and hoped that I would get accepted as I really liked the company!
I was really excited to receive a call from SmileTutor’s HR soon after. We quickly arranged an interview with the director of SmileTutor, Mr Rum Tan.
During the interview, he went through my digital portfolio and viewed some of my past works. Since I only did formal writing in school, he pointed out that I would have to switch up my writing style to suit the blog, but I was willing and excited to learn.
The interview went pretty smoothly and I would credit it to having mock interviews in school and researching interview tips, which really helped me to stay calm during the interview.
I remember being a nervous wreck during my mock interview in school and was determined to do better for my internship interview. My hard work paid off as I was eventually accepted by SmileTutor!
My First Day
Although I was really excited to work in an office for the first time, I was quite nervous as I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.
Though I found the atmosphere of the office to be pretty intimidating at first, my fears quickly dissipated when I began striking conversations with my colleagues. They turned out to be really friendly and I felt welcomed.
I vigorously took down notes on new things that I’ve learned to make sure that I don’t forget anything important. There was a lot to absorb on my first day, e.g. the formatting of the blog articles etc.
Moving on, my job was to produce engaging and educational content for the blog and edit them according to feedback from my supervisors.
Over the months, my biggest challenge was constantly coming up with fresh, new article ideas every day.
You need to consider more aspects
When you’re working for a company as an intern, you are now contributing to a brand and representing them. It is a transition from when you were a student and were only responsible for your own work.
This means that any work that you produce has to take into account the brand identity and reputation of the company. As a Content Writer, I had to be very conscious of the minute things such as the underlying tone in my writing that I may not notice.
Such aspects of your work can be easily overlooked when you’re not careful, which is why your supervisors will play a big role in your learning process. After I write every article, my supervisors will go through it and point out areas for improvement to me.
An internship is a preview of your future career
An internship would allow you to have a preview of the full-time job, except an internship would have less commitment (e.g. shorter contract).
You are also given more space to learn during an internship, whereas a full-time job would have higher expectations of your performance.
Instead of doing assignments in school modules, the specific scope that you have in an internship will really allow you to drill into the particular area that you’re interested in.
For me, I loved writing when I was doing my school writing modules. But doing it full-time for my internship felt different and I realised that freelance writing could be a better option for me. This internship has helped me to carve out the best career path for myself and discover my strengths and weaknesses!
My Advice for Students Who are Going on Internship
Learn as much as possible
As mentioned, an internship is really a precious opportunity for you to learn and you should make good use of it, so that when you do step out into the workforce full-time, you are much more prepared and create a good impression.
Always take the effort to ask your supervisors questions if there is anything you are unclear about. Get to know your supervisors’ expectations and meet them.
Internship grades are often a huge source of stress for students, as they often take up a high weightage of your GPA for that semester.
Many students might make the mistake of seeing internships as just another job. But if you really want to do well, you need to know what your supervisors’ expectations are, so that you can aim to reach them.
Always maintain effective communication with your supervisors and colleagues, so that you know where you need to improve, and also voice out to your supervisors if you are not able to meet their expectations due to certain reasons.
When in doubt, always clarify.
Show enthusiasm in working
A sense of initiative is very important as an employee. As long as you prioritise your most important tasks, you should always try to help out as much as possible.
Even if you’ve already finished your expected duties, showing enthusiasm in contributing more will give you a better chance of impressing your supervisors.
You should also always try to think out of the box and be on the lookout for ways that you can improve the current system. For me, I decided to bring in what I learned from school, which included feature writing, to write feature articles.
Here are some examples:
An Edu-preneur Who Believes in Multi-Sensory Learning
Remaining Positive with a Desire to Inspire through Tutoring
My supervisors liked the idea and I continued the series. I was able to give extra contributions because I was familiar with doing feature articles in my school modules.
I feel that an internship is very impactful and you should definitely look forward to gaining so much from one.
If you’re a student who would be pursuing an internship in the near future, I hope that this article has helped you to gain a better idea of what an internship entails and that the tips that I’ve shared above would be useful for you!