First Thing’s First: Introductions

My name is Alex Cahanap and I was the inbound marketing design intern soon-to-be junior content creator at a small agency on the north border of South Philly. I spent the Summer tinkering around on Illustrator on a twenty inch iMac in an office the size of a row home working primarily on design work. Come Fall, I was offered a new position: junior content creator where I was given additional responsibilities and where I learned the art of wearing multiple hats.

Transitioning from the design intern to the junior content creator at a small agency of eight people means expanding your skill set like never before. I went from designing blog infographic images and mocking up ads to writing full blogs, training in HubSpot, editing video, shooting interviews, attending client meetings, building email blasts, managing social media, and much, much more. I was stretched in a million different directions and learned some valuable lessons and tips along the way. Handling lots of responsibilities and taking on multiple roles is not an easy task. You’ll make many mistakes and feel silly every once in a while, but it’s important to learn from these and lucky for you, I have some tips to avoid this. Here is my list of ways to not look silly while wearing multiple hats:

  1. Keep clear communication: Deadlines are created to be met, but people are not perfect and the clock doesn’t stop for anyone. Keep your team members in the know and be completely transparent about what you have on your plate (especially if that plate is entirely too full)
  2. Know how to say no: I worked 35 hours a week all while taking 17 credits for the semester. *takes deep breath* So “Can you stay an extra hour for this client meeting” was not an option for me. Know your boundaries, be clear about them, and follow through. No, you can’t answer your work emails on a Saturday, because that’s the time you set aside for school work/freelance/free time, and that is completely fine. Let everyone know this.
  3. Take each assignment as a learning experience: When you are in a position that requires you to be flexible, you aren’t always given the task you are most interested or passionate about. As an art direction major, I have zero interest in writing client blogs. However, as a student of life, getting a little extra writing practice never hurt anybody. Each assignment/task will teach you something different and valuable in its own way and it’s important to take this with a grain a salt.
  4. If wearing all the hats doesn’t feel right on you, don’t be afraid to ditch the look: Wearing a ton of hats is definitely not for everyone. While some may find it endearing and fast-paced, others may feel it’s unfocused and fleeting. I am the latter. The biggest thing I’ve learned from my internship is that I thrive in focus and direction. I enjoy strategizing, teamwork, and taking time for the creative process. I dislike “I need you to do this really quickly for me…”

I’ve learned a lot from my position of many hats and I am thankful for each and every lesson, the most valuable being: it is not for me. You won’t know if something isn’t your cup of tea unless you take a sip and I’m glad I did.