In addition to working unpaid, the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design graduate, who wanted to be known by her middle name, Anita, spent most of her time doing mindless tasks which did little or nothing to enhance her skill set.
How can you make sure you get the most out of an internship? Work experience is an extremely important section on your CV and should be beefed up as much as possible. However, listing ‘unpacking clothes’ and ‘vacuuming office’ as skills you picked up during an internship isn’t likely to impress potential employers, so it’s imperative to make the most of your short time with a company.
Ask for more responsibility
Anita said she spent most of her time at NOW magazine “packing and unpacking clothes” in a stockroom – and things didn’t improve at her next placement at a south London auction house, which consisted mainly of cleaning and vacuuming the office and cataloguing items that were being put up for sale.
If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough out of your work experience, don’t be afraid to ask for extra responsibilities or whether you can have a go at different kinds of tasks. Be persistent – after all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Make sure you are treated like one of the team
According to Anita, she did not even get to meet management until a week into her placement at NOW magazine.
“Generally you weren't treated very well,” she said. “People should think carefully before doing internships because you can be really misled.”
Be careful not to let employers take advantage. Unpaid work experience can be good for a few weeks and can give your CV the competitive edge, hopefully leading to a job in the future. However, you should be wary of how long you work for without pay.
“I think everyone should claim their money back. It's only fair,” Anita continued. “You put in the hours but you end up with nothing.”
Are you looking for fresh graduate jobs UK? Or are you seeking out work experience placements before diving into a full-time career?