So you’ve nearly finished your big internship in London! That’s awesome, now you have a whole other adventure ahead of you. No matter what company, where in the city and whether it’s a six month stint or something longer, you can be guaranteed of only one thing; it will come to an end. So what’s a bright-eyed intern to expect after a brief period of work in the Big Smoke?
Expect the unexpected (aka the Recruiters)
This is not something to be afraid of but I would take the sudden interest in you as ‘the most amazing candidate in the world’ with a pinch of salt. Recruiters know when to start laying out the ground work to ensure that you choose them to represent you. In some ways this is brilliant; you have a point of contact to discuss roles with and you have someone fighting in your corner for better salaries etc. They have access to roles that aren’t online and work with a lot of massive companies and exciting start-ups. On the other hand though, you can be quickly overwhelmed with interviews and getting contacted all day from various people. Your email and Linked In inboxes will be pretty full!
I contacted two different agencies, both of which were fantastic and within two weeks I was on the final interview for both. For digital based roles I can’t recommend Pivotal and Sphere enough. I ended up accepting a role through Pivotal and they even took me out for lunch to say congratulations! I found that agencies made the process a lot faster and smoother than if I had been searching for jobs on my own, after work hours.
You might not be in the right field or role
This sounds negative, but you can work anything in your favour. You will be infinitely more employable after your internship (the recruiters are a sure sign of that!) but it might not be in the field you were initially aiming for. This is usually happens if you end up taking the first role you get, like me and my internship at Unruly (I sort of just fell into ad tech and the digital industry. It is not something I have an insane passion for, although I enjoy it well enough). The best thing to do is get involved with the areas that you are crazy about (marketing, client services, design…) while you’re interning, and keep at it in your new role. Alternatively you gain experience in the wrong industry, but in the right role, and use that experience to find a company that you are more interested in.
Personally I’m using my job to work towards client relations in other industries, though that could all change in a year when I almost certainly find something awesome about ad tech that I want to pursue!
Don’t get too attached
This is something I really shouldn’t preach about because I am the worse person in the world for getting attached to people. Internships aren’t permanent and this is something I have had to learn the hard way. You will, undoubtedly, make friends within your team and office but remain aware that it will be sad and frustrating to leave when your contract ends. You might want to stay but have no option to, much like myself, and so you move onto other things. That’s fine, and you will make connections at your new place! Plus, there’s nothing stopping you from staying in touch with your friends. It’s never the end of the world. And talking about the end of the world…
A permanent role might not present itself
So what if your internship finishes and you have nowhere to move on to? Well, remember that there are always temporary agencies or retail and bar work to tide you over until you find something you want to pursue. Or you might choose to leave London. I was seriously considering moving back to Manchester about two months ago. I was tired and anxious about the job change and the idea of leaving this ridiculous city was genuinely inviting. I’m lucky enough to have a family that I could move back into for next to no rental cost and comparing that to the sky high living expenses in London, I’m surprised sometimes that I didn’t bite my parents hand off when they offered. But I knew that I didn’t want to move hours away from my friends and end up living at home once more, so came to the conclusion that that wasn’t the right route for me. Some people do, however, and use their time in London to build an enviable CV which sets them above the rest in other cities. It’s all personal.
Of course, all of this is just coming from my personal experience and those of my friends, but it’s a good place to start. There is so much good to be found in London, if you only give yourself the time to find it.