In the Shoes…of an Intern

You’ve just landed an internship! Congratulations! This is an exciting first step towards your future career!

However, internships might not be what you had envisioned throughout university, and could be the cause of a bit of a rough transition from the student life to the professional life.

I have been at Fleishman-Hillard for a month and one thing is for sure: as you start, there are a few tips you should know that your college degree has most definitely not taught you! I hope to give you a mini crash-course on ‘internship 101’ to ensure a smooth transition.

  • Have the right mind-set and attitude

The biggest mistake that we graduates make is to expect to immediately put in practice what we have studied. And rightly so- we have after all been studying hard for the past 3-4 years, right?

Well, that is partly wrong.

If I had gotten R10 for every time I heard the word ‘strategy’ throughout my degree I probably wouldn’t even have started working! I am not undermining our education- having the fundamental knowledge of your future profession and the strategic insight is very important. However, it is very unlikely that you will be put in a position of big responsibility.

Instead, you will most likely be doing the ‘not-so-fun-stuff’ like compiling media lists, doing research and other odd bits and pieces that are the building blocks to implementing a strategy.

This might not seem so glamorous, but don’t see it as a negative thing.

Be prepared to do the so-called grunt work. A positive attitude and being proactive are your tools to greater things. Your supervisor is more likely to give you increased responsibility if you show that you are willing to learn and do whatever comes your way!

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions…. the right ones!

Becoming part of an agency can be quite daunting. Don’t let this get to you. Ask questions that are clever and that show that you want to learn and add value. If you ask questions to which the answers are blatantly obvious you will look unprepared and will not make a good impression.

  • Accept criticism

Depending on your personality this will either come naturally or it might, in fact, be the hardest task you will come across in your professional life. The majority of the time, the first draft of your work will never be the right one. Don’t take criticism as a personal attack. Rather, view it as an opportunity to explore and acknowledge your weaknesses so that you can work on continuously growing and improving!

Finally, my biggest tip is essentially to be prepared to work hard! Nothing comes easily and at the end of the day you will only progress professionally thanks to you and how well you can work with the people around you! Make an effort to make good relationships that will help you not only to learn and improve but also to love what you do and the environment you work in.

Twitter handle: @AliceCardarelli