Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Interning But Were Afraid to Ask
It’s Intern Season! (And no, I don’t mean we’re sitting up in our “intern blind” substituting pizza for salt licks to lure college students.) What I mean is school is wrapping up for the summer, college students are on the prowl to get experience, and here at AMS, we’re ready to intake all the raw talent in Central Texas and hone those skills to turn out the future employees of our creative media workforce in Austin, Texas.
This time of year caused me to reflect on our team and what brought us all together at AMS. In doing so, I realized almost every one of us started as an intern somewhere, and that led to the next jumping off point of some very successful careers. So…I have conferred with the brain trust of the Public Interest Division to come up with our recommendations for budding young professionals (or as we call them, “fresh meat”**) to develop essential workforce skills.
Without further adieu, here are the Top 7 Tips on How To Be A Great Intern. Or… Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Interning But Were Afraid to Ask.
**Note: Kalinda is not a hunter, rather just really good at over-using metaphors**
Be an eager beaver!
Nothing elicits an “unlike” more than an intern wandering aimlessly. Don’t just be another pretty face, find a way to make yourself valuable to the company. That means fill ANY hole you can, BEFORE someone asks, no matter what level of importance you deem the task. Chances are, whomever you helped out without being asked is very pleased with you. The goal here is to have employers think, whether consciously or not, that life would be way worse for them if you weren’t there. If you can accomplish this, your chances at securing employment where you’re interning increase exponentially!
Better never than late.
Do NOT be late. Ever. No, seriously. EVER. Employers get lots of qualified intern applications and resumes. Being late sends the message that you do not see being there as a priority. There are lots of other people who will happily take your place and make your internship their priority if you won’t. Remember, “punctuality is the politeness of kings.” (Louis XVIII)
Only say “no” to drugs.
Saying “no” in an internship means you will get looked over on the next assignment (and for all you know, that next assignment may be exactly what you label as ideal for your experience). And, “NO,” to the team means you’re not part of the team, or interested in being part of the team. Every AMSer is willing to do whatever to make our company successful. We want people to be the same mindset as us on this front. “No,” means you play for the other team, traitor.
Better to ask twice than to lose your way once. ASK QUESTIONS!
That is why you’re here, to learn. Nothing is worse than checking-in on a project an intern has been assigned, only to find they’ve been diligently heading down the wrong path. Ask twice if you didn’t get it the first time. Also, this means to not be afraid to ask to join inner-office activities and meetings. If you’re not the intern coordinator, it so rarely crosses our minds to invite an intern to be a “fly on the wall.” For me, the best place I could be as an intern was right outside the boss’ door. I heard all phone calls, all meetings, all conversations. It placed me right “inside” his day, and made it much easier to know where to insert myself and provide value that he couldn’t just turn around and replicate. (Note: I landed full-time employment by the start of my 2nd semester of senior year because of this. It’s nice to head into that final semester with employment, even better than not having student loans!)
Make your comfort zone in the wild.
No one increases their value or learns new things to grow in your professional offerings without doing something that made them extremely nervous or uncomfortable. Complacency is the bane of professional progress. Push yourself, and don’t stop pushing yourself until you decide to retire.
“Tag” yourself as a professional.
Someone once told me that social media was like a cocktail party. Are you the underage guy who shows up and drinks all the leftover melting cocktails, gets obliterated and makes a fool of themselves? Or are you the guy who shows up, has one glass of great wine, shakes a ton of hands, exchanges a business card or two, and goes home at a decent hour for his beauty sleep? Social media maturity is a must. We look at your profile as much as you do ours. (And! That being said, get a LinkedIn account already. And maybe don’t “friend” your boss until after you don’t report to them?)
Reduce your salt intake, variety is the new flavor!
Try it all, try it now. Round yourself out, know what you like, and almost as important, what you don’t. How will you know the dream job is truly that if you don’t experience what that green patch of grass over there is like? This will also allow you to build a solid resume of experience as well as know what you like and, almost just importantly, what you don’t like to do professionally.
Best of luck with your applications….speaking of, have you visited our careers page? We’re always looking for that next young, dynamic, superstar!