Nowadays internships are much more hands on and you get a chance to really work on projects rather than just do the busy work. Here are ten tips to help you get the most out of your internship.
1. Say hello- A simple hello and good morning is a great way to start out the day and is a friendly way to start getting noticed by other employees. When you are getting coffee or washing your hands in the bathroom, don’t be afraid to make conversation. Introduce yourself and ask what their role in the company is. People love to talk about themselves and the more people you know at work can only help you.
2. Never a dumb question- Ask, ask, ask! Always ask if you have a question because you are there to learn and you are not expected to know everything. In the advertising business there are so many different acronyms and equations to figure out success metrics that it can get confusing. Asking questions shows that you care, and are not just simply going through the motions. Show that you are actively trying to understand the business, industry and peoples roles in the company.
3. Be eager to learn- Even as seniors we have so much to learn about the advertising industry and continuing to learn and grow is extremely important. At my internship the first thing I do every morning is check my email. I have signed up for different newsletters that are informative about the industry and trends. Reading social blogs such as Facebook is also a good idea. This will help you stay in the know and possibly be able to add insights and suggestions about certain topics when necessary.
4. Say yes- When someone asks you if you are up for a certain task always answer yes. I do not mean to say that if someone asks if you are able to create a pivot table in excel you should just say yes even if you have no clue how to do that. Try instead to say, “I would love to do that for you, but am not sure how to so that. Is there someone that could teach me or do you know a good video I could watch for guidance?” People will love to hear that you are eager to learn and you are only benefiting yourself when you learn new things.
5. Just as important as work, but more fun- Many companies will have lunch-ins or team building exercises that you can be a part of. At eBay the client services team had a team building day at the beach. The event was not mandatory and you could have a day off if you were not attending but everyone was highly encouraged to attend. I became friends with the people I work with on a more personal level because of that day and it has made my work experience so much better. Even smaller things such as a happy hour after work I would recommend going to. I know sometimes it seems better to just head home and kick your feet up but these types of outings are where you will get to know your coworkers on a more personal level.
6. Dress appropriately- Every job has a different standard for what is appropriate to office attire; make sure you know what this is before you show up on your first day. I was lucky that at eBay Enterprise they are very lax in what you are required to wear. Walking through the office you can sees a wide array of outfits that really show you a person’s personality. Since you are an intern make sure you are put together every day so that there is never a question if you are underdressed. It is also important to take notice off the temperature in the building. Some places are colder than others and if you are freezing or overheating it’s hard to concentrate on doing work.
7. Lessen distractions- In our age of social media it is hard to not have our phone right besides us but sometimes that can be distracting. Working for the client services team everyone had their phones on their desk in case a client happened to call them. Even though I was never going to receive a client call I still felt comfortable having my phone on my desk. This slowed down my work process but the more I became aware of it I decided to put it in my bag and only check it once and awhile.
8. Find a mentor- Find someone you click with and let them help and guide you through your journey at your internship. I was lucky that the person I reported to became that person instantly. She took me under her wing and would always make sure I had enough work to do but also tried to involve me in bigger planning and account level stuff rather than just busy work. She contributed greatly to my growth at eBay.
9. Make your own work- There will be many times where you do not have enough work to fill your entire day and what you do with that extra time is up to you. I highly recommend using that time to better yourself. Find out if the company has any courses you can take to get certified in different programs. I am currently working on my Google Ad Words certification. You are there to learn and grow so use that time wisely. Soon you won’t have free time like that to just soak up knowledge.
10. Say thank you- Take an appreciation of someone’s time and willingness to spend it on helping you grow. Many times people will be thanking you for helping them complete a task; you are there to learn but also to take some of the work load off of people. When they thank you, and even if they don’t, thank them for taking the time to teach you. This will not go unnoticed in the long run.