On my last day as an intern, I looked back on the simple things I did (or didn’t do) that had made a difference, made the experience better or had helped me the most. While some of these tips may seem obvious, I was a little too nervous my first week to actually put them into practice! Once I did though, I felt totally at ease in the workplace.
Be A Sponge
Interning is the best way to gain some real world experience, so learn all you can! Ask plenty of questions, and ask for help if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. I made sure to make a list of all the questions I had, because I figured asking as an intern looks way better than asking the same list as an actual creative. Gaining knowledge and confidence is a surefire way to ace your internship and help you land your dream job.
The office can be a a confusing (and sometimes lonely) place if you don’t know your neighbors. Take a moment to say “hello” to your fellow creatives, let them know who you are and why you’re there. Even if you don’t work with them all the time, remembering names and positions is a good thing to do. Don’t go three days without knowing your art director’s name; it might get weird.
Carry a Notepad
…Or a tablet, if that’s your thing. Your internship will keep you on your toes, and you never know when your next great idea (or next important question) will pop into your head, so keeping a sketchbook or notepad for notes can come in handy. I think keeping your thoughts in a book might help someone keep organized and collected, rather than rummaging through an extensive post-it note collection.
A little personality can go a long way; it makes the people around you more comfortable, and makes you more memorable too. It may sound ridiculous, but sometimes a good disposition is the difference between getting the job or not. People don’t like to work with grumpy folk, and this goes for outside of the workplace as well.
Ask to Help
If you’re experiencing some downtime during your internship, don’t sit around checking your email. It doesn’t hurt to offer your services to those around you. By offering to help, I gained opportunities to work on really great projects. It’s a great way to prove yourself a valuable part of the team, and may work out in the long run.
Show Up on Time
Creatives are notorious for showing up to work late, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to get away with it just yet. The same goes for taking breaks too. It sounds obvious, but it’s really important – show up ready and on time, It’s one of the best ways to show your willingness and dedication to your new internship.
Watch Your Web Use
You can find out anything on the internet, so it’s time to think about what you’re putting out there. Photos and words can come back to haunt you, so It may be time to clean up your web presence. You should also think twice before complaining about your job or a co-worker, there’s a good chance someone can find it. Companies search their name for recent news all the time, so think before you tweet!
I’m sure there will be more things you learn along the way as you intern, but these are just a few steps in a good direction. If you have any tips or lessons you’ve learned, share them!