Five mundane intern tasks that are actually CV gold

February 26, 2016
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Internships can seem like a necessary evil. They are pushed onto us young’uns to make us realise that we’re not yet adults and not quite teenagers either. We’re taught to do adult work but don’t reap the financial benefits.

Although internships sometimes get a bad rap – I mean, getting no coin for your labour can be pretty shit – they’re actually really valuable. Since it’s all about that stellar CV for us these days, getting some internship experience can really boost your chance of a getting a job in your ideal career later on.

So whether it’s nursing, journalism, or even banking – getting a work experience placement can be an important step in the right direction and help you get those CV brownie points you’re so desperately after.

You’ll have to persevere through tedious tasks

In one placement, I was asked to proofread dozens of boring and dull classifieds that were to be sent to print the following day. I mean, after one newborn ad and a wedding where every living relative wanted an ad, things were hard. But after several hours of proofing the classifieds, my boss gave me a pat on the back and said that I had shown perseverance. Sticking out a boring or mind-numbing task will show future employers that you’re eager to do what it takes to learn the trade.

You’ll have to send hundreds of emails

Emails are a pretty adult mode of communication and most of us only bother with the old Gmail account when signing up for subscriptions or sending out daunting job applications, hoping like hell we’ve proofread our cover letter. So when you’re in an office job – whether than be in advertising or marketing – you’re going to have to send an emails. And lots of them.

Learning the style and protocol around office emails may sound dull but it’s going to have you working like a professional and show you how it’s really done in the offices downtown.

The photocopier will be your new bestie

Doing errands around the office and showing a willingness to help out with some of the less pleasant duties will demonstrate modesty, because let’s face it. You’re not too good and no-one likes someone with an inflated ego.

During one of my placements, the photocopier and I became BFFs. I would feed her (quality Xerox paper only), maintain her (by ensuring none of the other staff would kick her if she was slow), and keep her entertained multiple collating and stapling jobs.

You’ll inevitably have to make awkward water cooler conversation

In one demoralising experience from the internship battlefield, I had to hear about one staff member’s thoughts on a TV show I had never heard off. There’s only so much water you can sip on while enduring the painful waffle of the receptionist’s enjoyment of Embarrassing Bodies. After hearing the words “maimed” and “dismembered” in the same sentence, I wasn’t up for lunch that day.

You’ll have to do coffee runs

But no, seriously, if they’re making you get coffee, keep the $20 bill they give you and get the hell out of there. Office errands may be one thing but exploitative culinary and coffee runs are off limits.

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is a Master of Journalism student at the University of Melbourne. His writing has been published in Salon, The Advocate, and Overland.

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