1. The internship is what you make it.
The more responsibility you want, the more you will get. If you don’t take initiative, your learning and experience will be limited. Actually take the time to have a sit down meeting and discuss learning outcomes, jobs, etc with your boss. The more you express what you want to do, the more likely it will happen. This is true for any life-endeavor, people cannot read your mind and therefore you need to have a dialogue about expectations and goals!
2. People aren’t always timely in responses.
Just because you email or call someone on Monday, does not mean they will get back to you Monday. This goes for your boss, partners, clients, media, bloggers, etc. You need to try and get in touch with people with plenty of time before your deadline to allow for their response time.
3. Just because your professor taught you one thing, doesn’t mean your boss wants it that way.
This was a huge wake up call. It was really upsetting when I turned in my first proposal that I based off what I had learned in class and was essentially told I needed to redo it. Your employer will have a specific style that they expect, you have to be flexible and make sure your work lives up to their expectations. The real world is not a *insert your University here* classroom and that is perfectly fine. You just have to roll with it and take each new experience as a way to learn!
4. Always follow up.
Sometimes people read their email and forget to respond, or miss a call and forget to respond. Don’t be offended! Just make a simple follow up. Your boss will appreciate that you are taking the initiative to follow up.
5. Ask for more responsibility.
Don’t sit back and let boredom overcome you. The more you want to do, the more you can do. Make the most of the experience!
6. Networking is possible.
Your bosses, and even clients, want you to succeed. They’re more than willing to help you with the next step after your internship. Chances are they all know people in various areas of the United States, as well as different industries. Get to know who they know, attend meetings, join email conversations and be noticeable. Make sure your work is something you want your name to be on and that you want to be remembered for!
7. Ask questions.
You won’t learn if you don’t ask! If something doesn’t make sense, there is no harm in asking for clarification. You have to learn somehow! BUT DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS YOU CAN FIGURE OUT ON YOUR OWN. Google is your friend.
8. Not everyone knows how social media works, but that doesn’t mean they are unintelligent.
This is one of the trickiest things to deal with. Sometimes you have to talk in complete laymen’s terms. Not everyone has a basic social media background. You might have to expand on ideas more than you would typically do for a PR/Marketing internship. You are dealing with some incredibly intelligent entrepreneurs, but they are not digital natives like you are. Work with them, help them understand and gain their support for your ideas.