This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Media Link, Inc. in Rock Island, Illinois. Media Link is an advertising agency that has local and national clients ranging from restaurants to Palmer College of Chiropractic. I learned a lot about professionalism during my internship, here are some things to keep in mind during your experience.
Before your internship
• Apply everywhere. It’s OK to tell a potential employer that you’ve accepted another position if you have other offers. Thank them for the opportunity and don’t waste their time.
• Don’t get disheartened. You’ll hear a lot of, “We’ve decided to pursue an alternative route with this internship.” You may not even get a reply to your application. It’s just part of the process of applying. When I applied to internships last fall, I was told, “Thank you but no,” to probably 30 internships.
• Your resume is just a piece of paper. Kind of. It can be disheartening idea that we can be judged based on a document with no face-to-face contact but that’s reality. Make your resume as beautiful as possible but blow them away in the interview process. Wherever you apply receives plenty of other resumes but they only see one of you.
During your internship
• Be there early. I made a point to be at Media Link at least five minutes early every day and you’d be amazed with the impression this leaves. The little things matter more than you realize
• Ask if you can help. Show interest in what projects are being worked on. Get involved in multiple projects if you can. The sky is the limit of what you can do and you’re the only reason you can’t do more.
• Ask questions. Never asking questions makes you seem uninterested and asking too many makes you seem inept. To avoid the latter ask, “Why?” Not, “Why do I have to do this?” Ask, “Why?” because it shows the person you’re talking to that you’re interested in the conversation and the process.
• Get involved outside of work. I had the opportunity to go to three events put on by local corporations that were completely optional. The first was an event put on by the PR Network of the Quad Cities (PRNQC) focusing on marketing to Hispanic populations, the second was an event to welcome new members to PRNQC at the clubhouse of the John Deere Classic course and the last was a promotional dinner for WHBF, a local television station, where they introduced the shows that would be premiering in the near future. All of those events were great opportunities to meet professionals in my field.
After your internship
• Stay in touch. It’s been a month and I still keep in touch with my coworkers and employer. The people you meet as an intern might be able to throw you a bone after you graduate, make a point to send an email to them every now and then.
• Use your connections. Because I went to PRNQC and kept a connection with the owner of Media Link, I was asked to present at the PRNQC October meeting on a project I spearheaded and the benefits of advertising using trending outlets. I was also asked to recommend someone to fill my position after I left.
If you have any questions about my experience, would like to see what my resume looks like or maybe you’re going to be in the Quad Cities and looking for an internship, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)! I’ll try my best to help you in whatever way I can.