Internships are a great opportunity to learn about your strengths and weaknesses in the profession you intend to pursue as a career. For me personally, this has been very apparent, as I started this internship at Dittoe PR with no prior agency experience. To say I was fighting an uphill battle coming into this internship would be an understatement. Fortunately, I have learned so many things that have helped me throughout my time with Dittoe PR, but here are my top five tips that will help you ace your internship:
This tip gets thrown around a lot when regarding schoolwork or a job. What is said about the importance of being proactive is true, especially while you’re an intern. Demonstrating proactiveness shows your bosses and colleagues you are serious about your performance as an intern as well as in your career and helps to make a lasting impression. Being proactive can take on a variety of meanings. For me, being proactive has meant:
- Taking extensive notes when meeting with colleagues on projects to ensure I understand all aspects of the assignment.
- When projects are completed for the week, checking with supervisors for any initial feedback and to see if I can help with anything else
- Before leaving the office, checking with the remaining team members to see if they need anything
- And most importantly, always having a good attitude!
Keeping these in mind can really aid you during your internship, as it not only helps you individually, but it shows your colleagues you care about doing your job the best way possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
This is one area I struggled with initially. You may worry about coming off as annoying or bothersome to colleagues when asking questions, but it’s vital to your success as an intern. Some projects or tasks can be difficult, and they should be if you’re challenging yourself to improve every week. That’s just the nature of being an intern, especially one without prior agency experience. However, in a good internship setting your supervisors and colleagues are there to help you learn, grow and succeed.
More than likely, they’ll be able to answer your questions without issue. But keep in mind there is a fine line between asking good questions and expecting someone to do the work for you. For example, before asking where to find something, utilize the resources provided to you, whether that’s a shared drive, previously shared client documents, or online search engines. If those resources don’t answer your questions or concerns, then ask your supervisors for help or advice and be sure to let them know you exhausted all other resources before asking. Luckily for me, the team at Dittoe PR is always more than happy to help with any questions I have. And trust me, I ask plenty.
Something I heard a lot on my first day was that it’s better to over communicate to colleagues than not communicate enough. That could not be more true. With all the ways technology allows us to communicate nowadays, it’s very easy to keep your colleagues updated on what you’re doing for them. Whether it’s on our internal Slack channels, via email, or the old-fashioned art of verbal communication, I make sure to constantly update my project leads with where I stand on each project.
Doing this keeps your colleagues in the loop and shows your progress throughout the week. And it shows them once again that you care about what – and how – you’re doing. It is also gives them more trust in you for future assignments and lets them know that they don’t have to micromanage when assigning projects to you.
Asking for feedback
Receiving feedback, whether good or bad, makes us better. Just like receiving hard coaching or getting exam results back and seeing what you missed, we all learn from our mistakes and use feedback to continually improve ourselves.
Receiving feedback as an intern is vital to your success. It’s even more helpful to you and your supervisors to seek out feedback first-hand instead of just waiting for it to fall into your lap. Even if you receive feedback initially after completing a project, follow up again a few days later, just in case something was missed. This will help you to see specifically where you can improve and what to focus on when similar projects come up later in your internship.
Take advantage of the resources available
One thing I’ve done during my time at Dittoe PR is set up meetings with some of my colleagues outside of the office setting. Not only has it given me a chance to get to know them on a more personal level, but it’s also provided an opportunity to learn about the public relations industry and their journey with Dittoe PR. Whether they worked their way up from an intern to vice president or if they came from a different industry or background, I knew I could learn a lot from everyone in the office.
Taking advantage of the vast experience around you also shows your colleagues you’re serious about your future. Getting to know your team on a personal level can also pay dividends if you hope to work with the same company long-term or if you plan to ask for letters of recommendation down the line.
All of these tips are helpful, but none of them will pan out if you don’t put in the work. One thing I’ve heard a lot throughout my life, whether in school, sports, or at work, is you get out what you put into something. This applies to any internship, including my current role at Dittoe PR.
With all that I do each day, it could be easy to fall behind with a lackluster attitude. However, by utilizing these five tips and approaching each day with with full focus and a positive attitude, I’ve been able to ace my internship and make the most of the great opportunity. The same can happen to you if you follow these tips for your next internship!
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This blog post was drafted by Dittoe PR intern Cooper Robinson.