Although research shows that completing internships increases job offers by 16%, internships aren’t just a pathway to employment. Instead, they should be approached as a valuable learning opportunity that can inform every facet of life, not just the professional.
Wilks Communications Group has a long history of hiring exceptional interns as entry level employees. The relationship between the agency and its interns is two-fold. While interns learn from a team of experienced professionals, they also have an opportunity to contribute fresh ideas and bring their own valuable experiences to the table. In keeping with embracing that spirit of youthful wisdom, WCG asked its most recent class of interns to share their five tips for internship success.
Be the Squeaky Wheel
If you want to be a part of something, it is best to speak up. This applies even before you start your internship. Once you’ve identified the internship you really want, reach out to a fellow college alumnus who’s employed at the company for tips on how to increase your application success rate. Sometimes taking the initiative to ask for what you want can go a long way.
Once you land your dream internship, being vocal about your ambitions shouldn’t stop at the front door. Experience tells us that professional colleagues are willing and even eager to teach new skills if you simply ask for help. To truly maximize your experience, work with your supervisor to outline areas of growth and projects that interest you. Regardless of the outcome, it never hurts to ask.
Leverage, Not Average
Don’t believe the fallacy that it’s impossible to stand out in a role involving basic intern tasks such as building spreadsheets, conducting research or developing media lists. While they may seem mundane, these projects aren’t any less appreciated by your supervisor than high level duties. An exceptional intern will find a way to take a simple task and turn it into an opportunity. Discovering new ways to manage a project, uncovering new ideas to share with the team, and managing multiple requests at once will prove your worth and ultimately help you stand out from the crowd.
Embrace an Entrepreneurial Spirit
After the first few weeks of the internship pass and comfort in your role increases, the next best step is to lean into what we at WCG call the entrepreneurial spirit. At least once during your internship you will be given an assignment which your supervisor expects you to complete, but without clear instructions. While it is important to reach out and ask for guidance, at times the supervisor may not be available. In such a case, think outside the box and find a way. Useful expertise might be one Google search or a TikTok video away. Show your employer that no task is too challenging and watch the praises fly your way.
Check Your Ego
A degree from a top university, experience traveling the world or even prior internships with industry leaders won’t guarantee a position at the end of your internship. The only way to truly learn and grow at your post is to listen and internalize the feedback you receive. Regardless of whether this is your first internship, or if you are a seasoned expert making a career change, inform yourself about the agency, listen, and practice your communication skills.
One of the best ways to continue growing throughout the course of the internship is to consistently reflect on your experience. Be your own critic! Think of how much time it took you to finish a project. Think of your professionalism at the workplace and your attention to details. Go back to an old report you sent and analyze what could have been done better. Your willingness to constantly grow will surely not go unnoticed. There is a good chance that your employer will have formal reviews throughout your time with the company, but asking your supervisor for informal feedback ensures you know where you stand before the formal process kicks in.
Workplace Culture Works Wonders
Coming into internships can be nerve wracking. The first-day onboarding meetings, the team introductions, figuring out who to turn to for guidance – it all can be overwhelming. However, once you understand and embrace the workplace culture, you will quickly learn what it takes to be a successful intern.
In fact, 94% of executives believe that strong company culture is the key to success. Not only does a positive company culture influence how the team internally reacts to positive and negative situations, but it also is imperative to the intern’s growth as a professional. Being in a healthy work environment and collaborating with positive, genuine people boosts your confidence as an intern, reignites your passion, and gives new meaning to the word “work.” Identifying a potential internship with a supportive and collaborative environment can accelerate professional development and allow you to hit milestones that seemed far in the future. Work for the place that allows you to grow into the best version of yourself.
Navigating your first internship is never easy, but taking your time to prepare for the challenges coming your way is the best way to succeed. To learn more about internship opportunities at Wilks Communications Group, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at wilksgrp.com/careers.