8 hours a day, 8.5 pieces of advice for internsTopic:
As a dancer, it probably goes without saying that I like to move.
When I’m at college, the day starts with early morning ballet, moves on to modern dance, then choreography. I might have a few academic classes that involve sitting still for an hour or so here and there, but by evening, I’m back on the go in rehearsals.
Now, put me in a cubicle from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for three months. How am I supposed to sit still for that long?
I’m happy to say my internship at Ventev Mobile was much more exciting than the typical 40 hours per week job, and I know I’m walking away from this opportunity with knowledge and experience I could not have gained elsewhere.
I wrote copy and promotional collateral/advertisements; edited blog posts and articles; created and updated presentations, product sheets, and spreadsheets; was involved in decision-making; and contributed to product photo and video shoots. All the while, I was able to expand my own portfolio that I will take with me into my career.
I walked away from this internship knowing my input was valued and that I contributed meaningfully to the company. After having a few internships, I can offer some advice from personal experiences to future interns at Ventev Mobile, or virtually any workplace.
1. Your opinions are valuable. Internships get your foot in the door, giving you vital insight into the business world. But, the company benefits from having you as well. They get to have an employee from an entirely different generation provide fresh perspective for their business. They want to hear from you, especially if you work for a company that targets your demographic. So, speak up!
2. Make the most of every opportunity. If you’re going to spend your entire summer interning, you may as well make the most of it. If your company outsources, visit the agencies your company works with – my trips to Fells Point for lifestyle photoshoots and Philadelphia to meet with our PR team were probably the coolest parts of my internship.
3. Ask for feedback, and build relationships. Learn from the projects you are creating and always ask for feedback on your work. Receiving praise on your work after applying the lessons you learn is a great feeling. Also, learn from the people around you and build good, professional relationships with your coworkers. Master the skill of networking as connections can get you far in this world. I had a great time talking and working with everyone on the Ventev Mobile team.
4. Make a to-do list. Within a couple days on the job, I was given several complex projects. Soon
enough, I was grabbing my notebook nearly every day to take note of what I needed to accomplish by the end of each day. Staying on top of things not only makes you look good, it keeps the company running smoothly as well.
5. Always ask questions. There will definitely be times when you don’t know what you’re doing or you don’t know where to start. Ask as many questions as you need to, but also use your brain and creative vision. Don’t be afraid to dive into a new project head first.
6. Always enforce deadlines, no matter who it is and no matter who you are. Due dates are there for a reason, and you may need to remind people that outrank you of this fact. Have confidence and do it. If you need something completed by someone, don’t be afraid to let them know. And don’t be afraid to let them know something is overdue. This shows you care.
7. Even as an intern, you can return from a week away with a lot of emails. I’m sure I had significantly fewer emails to go through than any of my coworkers have after a vacation, but I was still a bit overwhelmed.
8. Commuting on the highway during rush hour is miserable. And that’s that.
Here’s another piece of advice that wasn’t quite worthy of making the list, but couldn’t be ignored: Bring a jacket to the office and have it ready at all times. It’s cold.
Internships are more than a line item on a resume. They offer the opportunity to learn critical skills that can lead to your next position.
My job at Ventev Mobile led to my next step: a marketing and social media internship with a dance company in the New Jersey/New York area for the fall semester. Landing this was an incredible accomplishment for me, and I am overjoyed that my experience with Ventev Mobile helped me get there.
I have gained a substantial amount of confidence in my ability to navigate an office environment (though I hope I never accept the joys of sitting down). For all of this, I thank everyone I had the pleasure of working with this summer!
Madalyn Rupprecht was an intern at Ventev Mobile, and is a dance major at Montclair State University.