How to comport yourself:
As a (soon-to-be) Ryerson graduate, you are expected to possess certain professional qualities. To list them one by one is pointless because they all come down to one simple thing: don’t be an a-hole.
Journalism is not as easy to break into as it used to be. The industry is getting smaller and smaller, and people talk. Word can spread rapidly, especially when it comes to professionalism. This applies when you’re on your placement too. Once again: don’t be an a-hole.
It goes without saying that you should show up on time (early is better) every single day, meet deadlines and come ready to work hard. Below are some tips from students who have already done their internships:
- Introduce yourself: Don’t be afraid to go up to people and say hi. It may seem awkward, but what’s even more awkward is getting to week five of a placement and someone wondering who you are. Don’t be shy, everyone was once a nervous 20-something-year-old too!
- Show initiative: You can expect to receive direction from a supervisor about what you’re supposed to do, but no one is going to be hovering over you constantly giving you task after task. Many of you will find that after your first few days, you’ll be expected to do things on your own. If you’re unsure of what do to, ask. Employers like people who want to learn and who want to keep busy. What you should not do is be on Facebook, Netflix, Google Earth, or anything else that suggests you aren’t working. People notice, not matter how discreet you think you are;
- Be prepared: Especially in true newsroom formats. You never know when you’ll be asked to cover something or pitch a story;
- You aren’t expected to be perfect: Like anything else, there’s going to be a learning curve and mistakes are inevitable. Employers know you aren’t perfect, and if you’re putting in the work and trying to learn, they will respect that;
- Make sure you’re doing constructive work: Yes that means your job shouldn’t be coffee runs. If you’re being repeatedly asked to do menial tasks that won’t teach you anything (coffee runs, organizing file cabinets, parking people’s cars, etc.), kindly raise it with your supervisor and mention that you’re hoping to get useful experience out of the placement. If this continues, contact Jagg.
But you knew all that already, right? Mostly it just comes down to common sense and being respectful. Or, in case you forgot: don’t be an a-hole.