ANTONY SMITH

I was lucky enough to have two internships during the summer in between second and
third year, the first being a production assistant for an independent film company, and
the second as a staff writer for an online film magazine. I can tell you from my
experience that it's worthwhile, looks good on your CV and makes worrying about
breaking into your industry of choice a little less daunting.

Studying is all well and good, but you need to put theory into practice to stand out
from the rest, and being a student is the best time to apply to be an intern while you are not
paying more expensive rent, utilities or council tax. The amount of spare time and freedom
you have during your course time can easily be frittered away. Enjoying uni life is all part of
the experience; making new friends, having a great time on and off campus, etc. But when it
comes to Reading Week and end of term you can plan ahead and really make it count, while
balancing being a socialite, as well as an academic. It's simple and doesn't entail getting
stressed out over or being a boring, shut-in recluse. Here’s some advice for you if you’re
considering an internship, and why you should be if you’re not already:

Weighing up Paid/Unpaid Work

Those of you lucky enough to have the option to spend the summer break getting
work experience, as opposed to being forced into a part-time job that is completely unrelated
to your course as a necessity to make ends meet, grab the opportunity while you can. Most
internships are unpaid but they typically cover your travel expenses, and sometimes lunch
thrown in, so you may only be out of pocket for a day to a week until you are paid in lieu. If,
for example, you apply to an up-and-coming, independent production company that starts out
as unpaid, the experience in itself will speak volumes on your CV. Plus there is no harm in
asking at a later stage once you've established and demonstrated your capabilities if you can
get hired properly.

Daily Quick Searches

Pause your Netflix, Xbox, or other entertainment outlets and spend an hour doing
some online research whenever you can. Don't underestimate the power of Google! Entering key search criteria as "film production companies London" or "business internships London"
will lead you in the right direction. Search for companies in London or a preferred local area,
get their contact details and start sending out emails. Log onto company sites advertising
internships every day on the off-chance a new opportunity is posted. Make this an ingrained
habit.

Email like a BEAST

Prepare to send out an updated CV, a cover letter (a friendly yet formal introduction
expressing your passion for your chosen industry, the relevant course you are enrolled on,
your availability, "I look forward to hearing from you. Please find my CV attached for your
perusal", etc) and make sure you personalize the opening paragraph for each email you send
to mention the company you are applying to. It can be more time consuming but avoids any
obvious cut and paste jobs that seem too mechanical. You can get help perfecting your CV
and cover letter from your course contact at the PCC (Placement and Careers Centre), the
ASK (Academic Skill Service) tutorials in the library or just Google "cover letter example" to
get template tips.

Companies and Sites to Use

It's easy to put off applying until Term 2 when March/ April is upon us. Summer
creeps up on us far too quickly and deciding what you are going to do can be put on the back
burner until the time eventually arrives. If you leave it to the last minute, chances are any
vacancy will already be filled. However, keep emailing until you get a response. It sounds
obvious but don't stop and be discouraged if it takes a while: continue as you mean to go on.
With larger companies it is best to apply in the autumn, around October to get in there quick.
For more information about internships, visit http://www.studentjob.co.uk/internship
For anyone interested in working in the media as I am, here are some useful sites to check out
for internships and low/unpaid jobs in the media field below:

Mandy' Film and Television Production Directory at http://www.mandy.com

Film, Television, Video Directory for Regional Film and Video at http://www.4rfv.co.uk

Film and Television Production Companies at http://www.mediargh.com