Millennial Minute: Internship Keys Pt. 2
Welcome back to another week of the Millennial Minute. Last week we talked about the keys to getting your next internship. So you get the internship, now what? One of the first things I tell our interns when they start is, there are two types of interns: the ones you forget as soon as the semester ends (and people comment things like, “I didn’t even know their name”) and the ones who you want/ask to stay as soon as their semester ends. You want to be the intern with the lasting impression, the one they write a stellar letter of recommendation for, and the one they want to hire if a position is open. What’s the point of spending eight weeks or more with a company and not getting the most out of it? Your job as a superstar intern (outside the tasks assigned) are to develop and learn key skills, build your network and professional connections, and potentially land a permanent role (if the company and job are a fit).
Like many things, an internship experience is what you make it. This may sound like a cliché, but from a former intern turned Internship coordinator I have been on the front end and back end of several internship semesters and know this to be true!
So how do you stand out? How do you make yourself the best intern that company has ever had? I’m glad you asked.
Prep for the first day. I know that none of our readers/potential intern candidates would ever apply to an internship without doing their homework on the company (righttttt ). But from the time you first researched the company to actually walking in the door the first day, you may need to touch up on your info. Do a quick refresher and see if there is any additional or new information the night before so that the information is top of mind. This also helps because even if you have nerves on your first day, you have already prepped yourself and you are more confident walking in.
Dress for the position you want, not for the position you have. I’m not saying walk in day 1 looking like you just hit the Met Gala, but you know what I mean. Attire is also of course based around your role and every position, company, and office culture is different. Make sure to speak with your coordinator prior to starting to get a feel for the generally accepted attire. Also, if they say casual or business casual, makes sure to define what that means. I always say err on the side of caution by dressing up rather than dressing down. It’s better to be professionally overdressed, than unprofessionally under dressed.
Treat your internship like a real job. This is super critical, regardless if it’s paid or not. Remember that what you are doing has real impact, with real people, in a live, real environment, especially true when it comes to the media and radio field. We are blessed to have an effect on people’s lives every single day in our industry and as an intern with us, you join that family and have a responsibility to do the same. You will get the most out of your experience if you walk in with this mindset every single day. I will say on the reverse, it’s also up to the company’s intern coordinator to set this tone as well and treat you as a true member of the team, even though it’s temporary.
Socialize, but be smart. I learned early on in my career (the hard way at my first real job) to be careful about what and how much information you share, even if your new co-workers and supervisors are cool. They really may be cool, and let’s be honest, radio is super fun, but just watch what and how much you share with your new work crew because you never know who’s watching, listening, and keeping notes on your business. Also, be careful how you choose to socialize with your co-workers and supervisors, in and out of the office. For example, do you really want to be the drunk intern at the bar with the work crew who must do the walk of shame the next day in the office? The answer should be no lol, as fun as it sounds. Now for me (and this is just my two cents) when I was an intern I did not choose to indulge in drinks or any other recreational activities with my work friends because I never wanted my work ethic or professional brand to be tainted in any way, especially as a young black female. But that’s just my advice. I watched several of my former intern friends toe the line with over socializing and for the majority of them, somehow word always traveled back to the wrong supervisor or higher up, and that’s never a good look. You want a lasting impression, but you want it to be nothing but positive.
Track your success + ask for feedback. This is why you are in an Internship, to grow your skill set and have some concrete takeaways/projects to add to your resume and use for the future. No one is responsible for tracking your success in the program but you. And always ask for feedback. If you want to know how to ask or receive feedback, refer back to the Millennial Minute post titled, Millennial Minute: Giving and Receiving Feedback
I could go on, but this is the Millennial Minute, not the Millennial Hour. Simply put, work hard, play smart, and build your network and resume with nothing but awesome stuff!
Until next time, stay dope Gen Y!