So, you’ve made it through the interview process and locked down an advertising internship. Great job! You also probably have no idea what you’re doing. That’s okay! The most important thing is to show up on the first day ready to get down to business with an open mind and a great pair of shoes. Here are my top internship tips to help you survive and thrive in your new internship.
1. Criticism is Your Friend
Coming into an internship with only the experience I had from college advertising projects leaves a lot of room to learn and grow. It is inevitable that you will make mistakes throughout your internship but the important takeaway is learning from your mistakes and having the resilience to do better with each coming opportunity. When a supervisor or colleague gives you constructive feedback, say “thank you”, use their advice to refine your work process and make it your goal to never hear the same critique twice.
2. Google it Before Asking a Coworker
Your coworkers’ time is valuable. That being said, make sure you have done your due diligence before asking for help. Always consult Google before asking your coworker because usually you’ll be able to find the answer yourself or get a baseline idea of what is being asked of you. After you’ve exhausted your Google research efforts and still haven’t found an answer, ask for help as a last resort. For example, try Googling “How to connect my Bluetooth mouse” before bothering the IT guy.
3. Be Efficient
In the fast-paced nature of the advertising industry, it is especially important to be efficient. To ensure you are using each hour of the day to your advantage, start every morning by making a to-do list and prioritizing the most important tasks. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to stay on top of your workload. Additionally, your daily to-do list can double as a reflection of all the hard work you completed throughout your internship. It feels good checking things off.
4. Triple-check Your Work
I cannot stress this point enough. Taking a second, or even third look at your work is such an easy way to ensure accuracy and professionalism. Having a typo or incorrect date in an email or document is a surefire way of letting a client know you’re lazy. This rule applies internally as well. Imagine distributing a document to the team or kicking off a project that contains errors. *Facepalm* There goes my credibility. When in doubt, read it again.
5. Say “Yes”
Your internship is a time to learn, so if you are asked to do something you’re a little uncomfortable with say “yes”! The only way to master something is through practice. So, if you aren’t good at something, take every opportunity you have to practice that thing. Always be willing to roll up your sleeves and get comfortably uncomfortable.
6. Be a Sponge
Use your internship as an opportunity to soak up as much knowledge as you possibly can. If someone uses a phrase in a meeting that you don’t understand, speak up and ask them to explain it to you. If you are sitting in on meetings, be attentive to the dialogue and write down the important things. Better yet, write down everything. The more you do, the more you’ll pick up on the office lingo and become fluent in industry speak.
7. Always Do Your Best Work
Your work as an intern might not be glamorous at first, but it will be a chance time to develop good habits from the get-go. Whether it’s composing a quick email or assisting with a presentation, do your best work. If you start by putting one hundred percent into the small things, it will become habitual to continue to do this as your workload increases and you begin to take on bigger projects. No task is too small to put forth your best effort.
Leaving your mark after an internship boils down to much more than inherent industry intelligence. Making a lasting impression spurs from a demonstration of character and how hard you are willing to work to master your craft. Welcome critique with open arms, be curious and ask unexpected questions. Efficiency is key to future success and organization is a habit you’ll never want to break. Take a second look, enthusiastically volunteer and soak up every moment. Some days you might feel like crying or pulling out your hair, but to get anywhere, you have to start somewhere.
In order to make a lasting impression, you first need to crush your internship interview.