From an intern’s perspective, here are 10 of my top tips for interns, both current and future!
1. Be a sponge!
It is super important to learn everything you can and soak up as much information as possible during your time as an intern. Otherwise, what’s the point? Be observant, keep your eyes and ear open and take in as much as you can. Be like Spongebob.
2. Set personal goals and keep yourself busy.
Before and even during your internship, set yourself some achievable goals! That way you can measure your success throughout your internship and add relevant skills to that all-important resume or LinkedIn profile (more on this later). On that note, it’s important to always be learning or practicing your craft. If you find that you have finished your allocated tasks, ask for new ones or better yet, see if you can find any yourself!
3. Ask questions!
Yes, it’s okay to ask questions. No one expects you to know everything and more often than not, your co-workers or supervisor will be happy to help. This is also a great opportunity to talk to people working in your industry or perhaps dream job, not to mention it is a great way to get to know everyone in the office. Employers tend to believe that students that ask questions are genuinely interested and motivated to learn about the industry.
4. Set up a LinkedIn profile.
Although not necessary for every industry, a professional presence on social media shouldn’t be undervalued. This may be the first thing employers see when they search your name or are looking to hire future full-timers. LinkedIn is an awesome place to show off your skills, advertise your achievements and brag about the projects you helped with during your internship. It is also becoming a more common tool for recruiters to find suitable candidates for an organisation!
5. Be professional.
This should go without saying, but it’s important to maintain a positive and professional image in the workplace. Don’t be late, always be polite to others and avoid behaviours that you would generally consider inappropriate. This might include taking extra-long breaks, answering personal calls on company time or regularly distracting others. On the topic of professionalism, your online presence is equally as important! I recommend typing your name into Google and seeing what comes up. That drunk selfie from the weekend (not cute) is probably not appropriate and should stay well-hidden from public view. My advice – keep your professional and private life separate and set your personal social media accounts to private!
6. Use your initiative.
Don’t be that intern that calls on their supervisor every five minutes, staring at a wall until they respond. It takes time to prepare tasks and the reality is that sometimes your supervisor doesn’t have time to answer your questions straight away or is in a meeting. Be diligent and use that time between allocated tasks to your advantage. Maybe you can revise your work or research anything you didn’t quite understand earlier. This will showcase your initiative and save everyone’s time.
7. Take a screen break!
So many jobs today require a computer, particularly marketing related professions. 100% of my own tasks as an intern have required a screen, both phone and computer, to complete work. In fact, many employees at Digital8 use TWO computer screens… that’s a lot of pixels. But of course, staring at a computer screen all day can be very taxing so it’s important to take a break every now and again. It’s important for your eyes, not to mention your wellbeing!
8. Develop professional relationships.
This is another skill you may have heard of. Building professional relationships is key to a successful career and when you are starting out, it is even more critical. An established professional network will expose you to new opportunities and ways to progress your career, including the hidden job market. So don’t forget to communicate with co-workers and stay in the loop. If you have a mentor in the workplace or in the wider industry, be sure to keep in touch with them too.
9. Make the most of your experience.
As an intern, you are offered value in the form of opportunities so it is essential to take as many opportunities you can to learn and develop. If offered to help with a project or listen in at a real client meeting – DO IT! At Digital8, everyone wants you to succeed and I couldn’t be more grateful for the invaluable quality of my experience as a digital marketing intern. It is up to you to take advantage of the opportunities in your own internship workplace. So seize the day!
10. My final advice – be enthusiastic!
Enthusiasm is everything. Show that you are keen and motivated to learn. Ask to be included or show your interest in what others are working on. Are you aiming to be hired after your internship? Then be to sure parade your enthusiasm and show how you can make a positive impact to your co-workers and company. Employers will certainly notice if you are eager and who knows, it may help you land a job!
Written by Elise Le-Galloudec