Advice to Advertising Agency Interns
Throughout my 12 weeks as a Digital Marketing Intern at Affirm, without avoiding the clichés, I have learned countless valuable life lessons I will take with me throughout my career. My time here has given me the opportunity to get the coveted hands-on agency experience from nearly every department and advertising insights every student longs for. Here is what I have learned throughout my internship experience:
Look around you and take cues. How other people are reacting, what notes to take when, what the protocol is, how people interact, what the expectations are, who speaks, what a client is actually asking, what your supervisor wants, and so much more. Keeping your eyes peeled and noticing even the smallest detail can make a difference later.
On top of that, what you do observe and may need for later, write down!
Never turn down an opportunity to learn
Anytime an opportunity is presented to you to try out a new skill, work in a different discipline, work on a new project, go to an event, help out on a production set, go to meetings, etc., take it! It can only be to your advantage, and after all, you are there to learn. Turning down a chance to master a new skill will only hurt you, so try your best to keep an open mind.
The caveat to this advice, however, is to know your workload limitations. Figure out what you are capable of achieving within a certain time limit, and communicate that to your supervisors – they will understand.
Be prepared at all times
Not being prepared for a meeting or call may make you or your team look careless. An easy remedy to this is to think ahead for what you may need in a situation, and come prepared with it. If a supervisor tells you they have a task for you, have a notepad and a pen on hand. When going to a weekly meeting, bring the notes from the week before. It’s better to over-prepare rather than under-prepare.
Don’t be afraid to ask (or suggest)
Let your voice be heard! If you have a question or need clarification about an assignment, don’t hesitate to ask at an appropriate time and place. Ask to get any doubts cleared up before a misstep is made. Plus, when you’ve been in the mix for a while, it can be easy for coworkers to assume you already know everything, so speak up!
Also, you were hired for a reason, so your supervisors and coworkers should trust your knowledge and skills. When you have a suggestion for copy, a pitch, or feedback you think will help, give it! The worst someone can say is, “thank you for your suggestion, but we’re going to go in a different direction.”
Set goals for yourself
Although this was technically mandatory for me, it helped me think through what I wanted to achieve by the end of the summer. Keeping yourself focused on your intentions for your time at the internship will center your attention and tasks.
When you set out to achieve your goals and accomplish them, you will be able to look back and recognize what you’ve learned throughout your internship experience.
It’s okay to make mistakes
This has to be the toughest. Yes, it is okay to make mistakes. But, the most crucial part is that you learn from them so you can be a more improved person and employee. Also, chances are that your superiors and supervisor are aware that you are an intern, so they should be there to catch mistakes before anything may go to a client or vendor.
Log your time
Since clients are billed by how much time is spent on their work, everyone is responsible for logging how much time they spent on what project and client.
Annoying, yes, but necessary, so just do it. Everyday. It’s inevitable. Log. Your. Time.
Overall, gaining exposure to the advertising industry through an internship is a valuable experience, so soak up all the knowledge and lessons you can and also don’t forget to have some #InspiredFun!