I started interning for True Voice Media during my first week of classes this semester and while this week is supposed to be my last, I know it’s still really only the very beginning of what’s to come. I was terrified of even applying to this internship, being that it was my first, and yet I’ve managed to conquer my fear and secure a future at this agency.
I’ve been coming in three days a week, usually from 10-5, sometimes even four days a week if there’s an opportunity for me to learn something new from our creative, Tim. My usual tasks involve internal and client research, blog posts, taking show notes for our podcasts, and notes during meetings. Recently I’ve been given more chances to tag along with Tim to assist him with filming videos of clients that we later use in our ads; as of now I’m just checking audio, but soon I’ll be learning how to edit the videos and even shoot a few myself. And while I’m not being paid to do any of this, the things I’ve learned in this short amount of time here has been rewarding enough; so rewarding, that I didn’t want it to end.
So now here I am, finishing my last week of internship but with a promised paid position in the near future; how’d I get here? This was my very first internship, so it certainly isn’t because of any prior experience or skills that I brought to the TVM team. And I definitely didn’t get to this point from solely relying on what my classes at Temple have taught me. What has gotten me so close to a paid position at this agency was from my dedication, personal connections, and open availability.
When I say dedicated I don’t necessarily mean that I pulled any all nighters researching material. What I mean is that when there was a task given to me, no matter how small, I gave it my all. If I had a blog post to write, I asked for constructive criticism and started writing it at least a week in advance to ensure I’d have enough time to continuously edit it to my liking. If I sat in on a meeting to take notes, I would ask questions and sometimes take some personal notes for myself. I even asked my boss, Jeff, a few times what it was exactly that he thought I could improve on in my work. Showing this type of attitude and dedication showed the team that I was listening, interested, and eager to learn. I think it showed them that I thought of the internship as more than what it was.
But it isn’t all about work, all the time. Making personal connections to your mentor and members of the team are just as important. Immerse yourself in the company’s culture. Do something nice for them when you can to show you care; once a month I made sure to bring in donuts or cupcakes, things that I baked that showed a little bit about what I liked doing outside of the office, but also showed I was thinking of them. This adds a more human aspect to how you can be seen as an intern; some people say in business it’s about who you know, so make sure the people who you’re working with remember you!
Lastly, I think availability is a key contributor in fighting for a career, whether it’s continuing at the company where you interned for or not. I’m not saying cancel all of your plans with friends and family, or calling off of work to make it to a meeting on a day you wouldn’t usually be in the office; but if there’s an extra opportunity for you to learn something new from the team you’re interning for, show them you’re interested and try to be there. For example, I started my internship by coming in three days a week, usually from 10-5, doing the same typical office work and research each day. I enjoyed this a lot, but I had an interest in learning from our creative, Tim, about video shoots he was doing for clients outside of the office. When I asked about extending my internship into learning more about the creative aspects on top of what I was already doing, my mentor, Jeff, was happy that I wanted to find out more about what the company had to offer. Maybe two weeks later, I was coming into the office on my afternoons off to meet with Tim to learn Photoshop and lightroom, and eventually assisted him on a few shoots, also on my days off. It’s taking the initiative to show that you’re available and willing to do more and learn more from the company that will really rank highly in your favor of keeping you around.