One of the toughest things about being an aspiring writer is that you’re going to need to work for free… a lot. And it isn’t just writers who are expected to intern without pay. Internships are important stepping-stones in many industries and you may find that showing the world what you can do (sans remuneration) is a right of passage in your chosen field. It’s tough, sure. But interning definitely isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can be an exciting opportunity for you to get a preview as to what your future career will actually entail.
I’ve completed three internships to date, and I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a fourth. For my most recent internship, I decided to apply for a content writer position at a home loan company for three months. I was blissfully unaware of what I was getting myself into.
Put it this way, when I was on my lunch break on my first day, I didn’t want to go back inside. I felt incredibly overwhelmed and unsure if I was even capable of doing the job. I was somebody who knew nothing about home loans or the property industry. The phrase “interest rates” was enough to give my chills. I was clueless beyond words…and words are my chosen profession. But I knew how important it was for me to conquer this. Gaining experience writing across a range of industries (including ones I knew NOTHING about) was what I needed to do for my resume. So, I finished my lunch, took a deep breath and went back inside… and I’m so glad I did.
Something interesting happened as soon as I sat back down at my desk. Once I was given the information I needed, I just went for it. As soon as I began to type, I felt confident. Like I had been writing about home loans for years. I never truly understood the term ‘fake it till you make it’ until that day.
Over the first month, I adopted a mindset where I made myself believe I knew what I was doing. I think that’s what the secret to success really is. If you pretend that you’re a #girlboss at what you do, you’ll eventually become one.
As I grew more confident with my writing, the compliments from my superiors started rolling in. I was given more tasks to complete and a lot more responsibility. I was given the chance to edit and make cuts when necessary and was even able to directly publish certain pieces. By the third month, I didn’t even need to research information and look up terminology anymore – this stuff was second nature to me!
An added bonus was learning what it takes to own a home. Whenever I caught snippets on the news discussing the property market, for the first time, I could actually understand what on earth they were talking about. Being able to participate in conversations about ‘grown-up’ topics was a definite victory.
What I learned is that every opportunity is the chance to discover new skills within yourself you didn’t think you already had. By interning, I learnt that I was a fast learner, had great research skills, had the capability to take on responsibility and was able to work under pressure. But the most important thing I learned was that I am totally capable of doing anything I put my mind to – and so are you!