Bam Creative has let me explore my degree further than university has at the moment; I’ve written blog posts, explored the world of content marketing, networked at industry events and tried my hand at some graphic design projects. It’s an experience I would recommend to anyone and one that will set you apart from the crowd.
Interning can be daunting, especially during your first couple of days. It’s a whole different environment with all new people around you, but it’s an amazing experience that should be fully taken advantage of.
Here are my top 10 pieces of advice for an intern, by an intern.
Learn about the company
Before you start or even apply, do your research about the company you would like to intern for. This includes what they do, how well they do it and what their values are. Knowing these important things allows you to understand what they believe in, what you want to achieve through the placement and whether you’re a good culture fit. It shows that you have made an effort to know the people that make up the company.
Find the office tone
One of the most important things to know about a company, before your first day, is the office tone. What are the staff like? What do employees wear? How are they expected to behave? Knowing these sets you up for success and negates a lot of the stressful ‘what ifs’ that come with first day nerves.
The invention of social media is a perfect tool for this, stalk their Instagram profusely. You can find out a whole lot about the office ‘vibe’ from only a couple of posts.
No question is a dumb one, honestly. You will only learn by asking, so ask about everything. Don’t feel scared about asking for help, you’re new and most people appreciate the chance to give advice. Furthermore, ask to watch over anything and everything you’re interested in, guaranteed this is a fantastic learning opportunity. Your new colleagues are busy but they’re not going to eat you, so ask away.
Listen to everything
Listen to everything anyone tells you. Every experience is a learning opportunity to find out invaluable industry insights and tips. Along with listening, it’s good to remember what you are told, for me this meant having a notebook permanently attached to my person.
Learning little things like coffee preferences and typical lunch orders go a long way. Though it may seem trivial it shows you listen well and make an effort; having to be told every single time that someone’s a vegetarian or is allergic to milk gets annoying really fast.
Go out of your way to help
Showing your capabilities early on is an important step, whether that’s a ‘prove yourself’ moment or a display of expertise in a particular area. It’s important to validate yourself as a successful intern, show that you care and are willing to put in the hard yards.
In my case, this meant running all over the city at night to find bags of ice for an industry meetup and running back with kilos of the stuff from over a kilometer away. Needless to say, my first day had a ‘prove yourself’ moment, which we all laugh at now. Make a point to show how much you want to be there, in the end you will be rewarded.
Make a point to know everyone’s names, as well as what they do for the company. Especially make an effort to know the people who do what you’re interested in; ask them what an average day is like, how they got there and what their best piece of advice is. Interning is a fantastic opportunity to learn from people already in the industry. Moreover, greeting everyone in the morning by their name makes you memorable.
Manners are often taken from granted but they are the most important thing to remember. A smile shows you’re happy to be here, want to be talked too and that you’re a positive person; all of which are very important qualities for an intern.
Similarly, politeness means a lot in the workplace, saying thank you to those who have gone out of their way to help shows a genuine appreciation of their efforts. A little goes a long way and you should always remember to be grateful for the opportunity you’ve been given.
Write down what you do
This is a giveaway; write down what you’ve done every day in a notebook. It’s super worthwhile to remember what you’ve accomplished while interning, for future internships and job applications. By doing so you can reflect on what you’ve learnt and enjoyed, all of which might be forgotten in a month.
Ask for more and ask for help
Sometimes, as an intern, you’re going to have a ton to do, sometimes you’re going to have nothing to do. Therefore, it’s important to know the value in asking for more and asking for less. One of the best things an intern can do is ask for work, that’s what you’re here for. When you find you’re slumping ask around to see what needs doing, you expand your skills and help your coworkers in the process. Extra tip: ask people whose jobs you like, maybe you’ll get to try your hand at something in your desired field.
Alternatively, sometimes you might be given too much. The best thing to do is to try to get as much done as possible. Speak to the person who gave you the task to see whether it can be postponed until next time. Remember to keep busy but always be realistic.
Getting caught up in schedules, lunch runs, meetings and emailing happens all the time, but remember to have fun. You’re not interning long so make the most out of it. At Bam Creative this meant enjoying the Slack gifs, going out to dim sum with the team and embracing the crazy shenanigans that happened all the time. You want to be able to look back on this experience having learnt a lot and had a great time.
Sadly my time at Bam Creative is quickly coming to an end. I’m going to miss the office antics and the extremely talented people who have already taught me so much. Particular shout-out to DT who put up with my endless stream of questions regarding my sometimes broken computer.
Interning with Bam Creative has been so rewarding and great fun. I can’t wait to transfer the skills I’ve learnt into my degree. The past 10 weeks flew by and have been such a fantastic insight into my own field. I’d recommend interning to everyone, take the leap and put yourself out there, especially at Bam Creative; they know the best lunch spots.