When I was in elementary school, my dad helped me write a letter to our local news anchor. I asked him to come to my school’s Career Day, and he did. The fact that Bob Grip from FOX 10 News sat next to me at school for a few hours that day says a lot about him. I guess it also says a lot about me, but mostly that I have always been a dork.
That elementary school Career Day wasn’t going to get me very far in the real world, so in college I embraced the fine art of interning. One miserable summer at a lawyer’s office was enough to tell me that I was not meant to be an attorney. During another internship, I spent time working for the Spring Hill College Communications Department. I was certain that I would spend my time filing and making coffee, but to my surprise, I actually practiced public relations. To this day, I think back to projects I worked on during that internship and the great advice from my supervisors. (Thanks Greg and Chris!)
There’s only so much you can learn in class, and day-to-day experience in the field is invaluable. Here at Cookerly, we love our interns. A lot. We also want them to learn as much as possible from their experience here. (That’s not to say there aren’t coffee and donut runs or afternoons of filing from time to time.) Some of our most recent interns share their tips on how to make the most of any internship:
- Grace Andruszkiewicz, summer 2011 intern: My advice is to put your all into everything. The purpose of interning is to learn things that you can’t learn in a classroom. If you just do the bare minimum, what is the point? Volunteer for extra projects and think ahead.
- Ian Bridgeforth, summer 2011 intern: Making a mistake is not the end of the world. Have fun.
- Mamie Cargile, assistant account executive and summer 2010 intern: Know how to be flexible. An important project might pop up, or you could be asked to stay late for an event. It’s important to be able to go with the flow and adapt to each situation. The third day of my internship I helped out at an event on a ranch. Few jobs will take you from the office one day to a farm the next, but be prepared for anything.
- Chris Glazier, assistant account executive and fall 2010 intern: Performing well is the most important thing, but it’s also important to get to know the people you’re working with so they have an idea of who you are. Develop relationships, speak up in meetings and show up to events outside of work. You need to make an impression. We had one intern who never spoke. We would forget she was in meetings. Sadly, many people did not realize she was gone until it came up in a staff meeting .
No matter where you are an intern, ask questions. Be reliable. Dress appropriately. Speak up. Try to connect with your coworkers. Ask how you can help. Chris says it best: Do your best on every task assigned to you, no matter how mundane. Developing a reputation for reliably producing good work is invaluable.