WHAT INTERNING AT A REAL COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY TAUGHT ME
You’re in your third year of your degree, and the real world is closing in… decisions need to be made about your future, and you’re not even sure where you want your future to go yet. There are a million paths… a million opportunities… and all of them need experience.
And you need experience to get experience.
This is where an internship can be an invaluable asset to your career development, but also your professional, studios and personal development.
As Communications students at the University of Canberra we are lucky enough to be facilitated through the placement office and various lecturers, to be encouraged (forced, actually; for credit points) to do an Internship. So as someone who has JUST completed an internship thanks to the help of the Media Federation of Australia and everyone at UC, I want to impart some knowledge on what I learnt during my month as the Insights Intern at Media Agency OMD.
Know a bit of history about your employer, who their clients are, and in particular; what campaigns they’re running before you start. This not only shows enthusiasm and initiative, but it’s so handy to have context to any tasks you’re undertaking, as it helps you ask the right questions.
It is a privilege!
Your employer, at great inconvenience to them, has made the time to welcome you and make space for you in their office, all so you can learn from the pros and get industry experience. Take this opportunity with both hands and be grateful, and DO NOT COMPLAIN about working for free.
It’s not the hunger games
Sure: they may be a limited number of positions, and it may be competitive, but make friends with your fellow interns; you’ll make lifelong friendships, and you never know when your alliances will help you in the future. And be sure to add each other on LinkedIn!
Last impressions count.
First impressions are important too, no one is denying that, but you will be most remembered for how well you handled your goodbyes. This business is so pseudo-incestuous, someone will have worked for someone who had a client of someone who also had an account with someone else… and they will inevitably pop up again later in your life. Be polite, don’t burn bridges, and always thank everyone who helped you along your journey.
Don’t just be there to tick boxes: Make an effort
Most agencies have over 30 interns a year… and no one remembers (or likes) the intern who sat quietly at their desk and did what they were told! Take initiative, ask questions, be enthusiastic and participate all the time! And if you’re not getting much work in one area, don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor or HR if you can pick up elsewhere.
The corporate ladder doesn’t just go up… it goes in all directions.
So many people I talked to had started in completely different roles to where they ended up. One person had started as a Trading Assistant, and is now managing Social, and another started in reception and has accepted a role as Head of Strategy. Therefore, it is important to get as much exposure to all elements of the business as possible, so you can find different positions that excite you, or you may want to move into.
All of this above said, I think the most invaluable lesson I got whilst interning was a reiteration of what I’d like to do in the future. I was fortunate enough to be placed in a team of like minded individuals, and there was never a shortage of work for me to do!
With the knowledge I attained during my experience, I know where I want to go, and where I see myself.
I hope your experiences, give you the same guidance they gave me! 🙂