How to make it as an intern

January 14, 2019

Here, there or anywhere, let’s give you the edge in being the “Best Intern Ever that Everyone Wants to Hire!”

  1. Show Up. Show up physically in the office or online as requested, yes, but to stand out, show up mentally and show up when they don’t expect you. Be ready to take in what’s around you, offer your services and talents to the greater team – even if that means checking in after hours because you had class or offering to run to the printer because you know that would be a huge help for the team. Show up mentally ready to be a part of the action. When you show up with your best game ready to roll, you’ll make a space that requires you, and only you, to fill it.
  2. Take Notes. We don’t care if you have a mind like a steel trap, take notes. It shows you’re paying attention and that you value the information coming at you. Doodle if you have to, but taking notes on project details, deadlines and expectations is a must. If you’re not taking notes, I’m already trying to fix what you’re bound to mess up because of a missed detail. We move too quickly to have silly mistakes. Did the project need bleeds and crop marks? What’s the output? Who’s the audience? Was the client providing images or am I sourcing them? Who do I follow up with? Those are the details you should have written down.
  3. Stay Hungry. If you’re there every day taking in all that’s around you – your assignment or not, you’ll learn. You’ll see how the team works together, how feedback is given, what the expectations are and how to exceed them. When you’re asking questions and watching how others work, the team sees that you value what’s going on. You’re not only interested but that you’re seeking to improve how you work with them. They see your excitement and feel the energy that you bring to the table. In a creative agency, that is key. Stay hungry to learn whatever you can. If you’re paying attention, you’ll learn more than how best to use the Character Styles panel.
  4. Exceed Expectations. We take internships to get a job. Plain and simple. We need the experience and when someone takes us in as an intern, we need to outline the expectations and exceed them at every turn. When we do that, the internship turns into a job offer. When we deliver, we make ourselves an indispensable part of the team. EVEN, hear me out,  – EVEN if you don’t want to work there at the end of the internship. You still need a positive referral. You still need that bridge to get to the next level. Don’t blow it. Exceed at all costs.

But how do I exceed expectations, you ask? Easy.

You show up. You take notes. You stay hungry to learn. You do the work that makes someone else’s day better, or job easier. Do the work you’re not even asked to do. Do the work. Ask for feedback. Perfect the work. Ask for more.

Exceed expectations and move from intern to employee before their eyes. Now, go make it happen!

— Written from a now agency owner whose first job spanning a few years was a professional non-paid intern making a path to now building the agency I love, doing the work that serves and helps others with some amazing people that every day show up, take notes, are hungry and exceed expectations. Be You. Be Fierce.