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10 Essential Lessons I Learned During my Summer Internship
I’ve had the pleasure of completing my summer internship with Caledon Virtual in the social media department. Having spent months during my spring semester searching for the perfect company, writing cover letters, and perfecting my resume, I felt a wave of relief come over me once I finally had set plans…but I had no idea what to expect.
Spending my days working at a digital marketing agency gave me a huge glimpse into the workforce, something I could have never gotten inside a classroom. Through my summer internship, I’ve not only learned an immense amount about social media marketing and digital strategy, but a lot about working in general, and about myself. Below are the 10 “life lessons” I’ve learned during my summer internship.
1. Confidence is Crucial
Whether it’s your first day at the office and you already feel overwhelmed, or feel completely incompetent at times, remember than you were hired for a reason, and that you’re not going to know everything or do everything perfectly right off the bat. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn from them and move on.
2. Always Ask Questions
If you have even a hint of doubt about how to complete a project, always ask your supervisor or another co-worker for guidance. Asking questions isn’t a nuisance to your employers, it signifies that you are curious and actually care about doing things the right way. Plus, asking questions from the beginning is far more efficient than having to go back and re-do a task completed incorrectly.
3. If You Can Take More Work on, Do It!
If you’ve completed all your work for a day, it can be really, really easy to fall into the “I’ll just check Facebook/Instagram/Twitter for a little bit” trap. Rather than calling it quits for the day, ask if there is anything else you can help with or take on. There’s always more work that can be done (I promise), and your supervisors will appreciate the help. You’re here to learn as much as possible, so make the most of the opportunity.
4. Ask for Feedback
You want to make sure you’re doing the right thing at work. But, relying on your supervisors to tell you everything you’re doing right and wrong doesn’t always work. If you truly aren’t sure if your performance is up to par with what is expected of you, simply ask! Your employers will love that you are passionate about doing well and learning.
5. You Will Learn So Much About What You Want
Of course, there are projects at work you’ll love and projects you’ll love a little… less. Unless you’re a professional dog-petter or something, I guarantee even your dream job won’t be perfect all the time. That being said, your summer internship is an ideal time to decide what you’re looking for in a career. Every office has a very distinctive culture, and each industry and position within the field entails a different experience. The office you’re interning at and the work you’re doing could be everything you’ve wanted, or maybe you’ll realize a different job or industry would better play to your strengths. Either way, internships are a superb way to navigate what jobs to look for when you’re ready for a full-time position.
6. Work Hard
This may be a given, but always stay focused and give your tasks your all. You might be lucky to intern in an office that recognizes hard work (like I do!), or one that doesn’t, but know that even if it’s not acknowledged, it’s noticed.
7. Have Fun
One of the weirdest dichotomies I’ve noticed during my summer internship is that the more fun you have, the harder you’ll work (or maybe it’s the other way around?) Get to know who you work with, enjoy your time spent at work, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
8. You’re Learning Even More Than You Realize
As a social media intern, I learned all about the world of social management tools such as Hootsuite, HeyOrca, Facebook Ads Manager, and other tools I had little or no knowledge of before. Apart from all of the more technical and creative skills I’ve gained so far, and expected to gain, I also learned a surprising amount about marketing as a whole. Seeing the client service team, programming, and design teams work allowed me to gain an understanding of an agency as a cohesive entity, rather than as a series of compartmentalized units.
9. Speak Up!
If you have a good idea, or think that you have something to offer to a project you aren’t a part of, let your supervisor know! Remember that you’re here because you want to learn; don’t miss any opportunities or chances to build up a portfolio.
10. You’ll Be Fine
Summer internships are exciting, but a little scary. You’re inevitably going to mess up at something at least once, but that’s sort of why you’re there in the first place. Work hard, try your best, and you’ll be ok.