Internships are a lot like school. Lots of busy work that can sometimes disguise how much you're actually learning. When I first came to Nashville everyone told me the way to get a job in the music industry was through internships. One girl I met (if you read last week's post, she was a coworker of a friend of my uncle's) told me she had three internships before getting a real job. What no one told me though was what set apart intern status from full time employment. After turning two internships into paid jobs, I'm going to take a stab at answering that question.
1. Listen! Instead of sitting in the front room all alone I would move around to sit in the office kitchen, on the floor next to someone else's desk, the couch around the corner from a conversation... basically anywhere that would get me closer to what was going on. Internships aren't just for young professionals to work for free, it's a chance to learn for free.
2. Introduce yourself. Dropping off a contract, picking up tickets, hanging out backstage? You never know when you might run into these people again later (you will). Also, you never know when you might get an opportunity to say hello to Alison Krauss or Steve Martin. You'll be glad you have had some practice ;-)
3. Make a difference. After doing #1, say you notice that the team you're interning for is having trouble with their outsourced email marketing. Well, good thing you have a background in html and can solve this problem. When you save people time and money they will start to think of you as more than an intern.
4. Be organized. If you know me, you know I love lists. Especially color coordinated ones. In an attempt to learn the artist management process I made a checklist of things that needed to happen before a live show. That checklist played a big role in me being hired. Making a system for an ongoing task will put you a step above the rest.
5. Love what you do. If you want to succeed, just put your mind to it and stay focused. Employers don't want to hire someone who is just there to get by. Show up and stay positive!
Are you an intern now? Check out my free services you can use to apply to #3 above!