How to Cater Your Internship Toward YOU

By Kristina Lee

First, let’s take a minute to give yourself a pat on the back. You got through the application process and you have made it to your internship. Congratulations!

Now, it’s more important than ever to think about what you want to get out of your real-world experience. By this I mean, do you want to be managing the company’s social media? Are you interested in improving your videography skills? Perhaps you want to learn more about writing scripts…

Whatever it is, remember that your internship should be a learning experience. Of course it’s important to get tasks from your supervisor, but it’s also important to utilize your strengths and explore your own interests while you are able to work in a real-world environment with individuals who are willing to help you succeed!

So, how do you personalize your internship?

Schedule a meeting with your internship supervisor your first week to discuss what you would like to learn and accomplish throughout this experience. Talk about your personal goals, your interests, and projects you want to work on. Ask if there are any opportunities for you to get “hands-on” experience. By having this discussion with your supervisor, she will be better able to determine how to best utilize your skill set and assign you more interesting tasks.

When I was an editorial intern for Girls’ Life Magazine, my supervisor and I had this discussion. I explained that I was interested in working with the publication’s social media. I also shared that I wanted to improve my writing skills while gaining experience in event management. She took all of this information into consideration and, that same day, I was assigned to schedule social media posts across multiple platforms and write articles for the website. The day after, I was assigned to work on social media for an ad campaign; and later on, I eventually became involved in the planning of the magazine’s annual Fashion Bash event. I was able to gain experience in all of these areas because of one conversation with my supervisor.

Another tip for personalizing your internship would be to pitch your own stories or project ideas. This, of course, means speaking up. Don’t be afraid to tell your supervisor about your great idea. You never know if they may think that your idea is better than their own! If they do, you’ll most likely be able take on that task yourself. And the best part? You’ll be passionate about it!

At Girls’ Life, I pitched all of my own article topics and was able to write about my own interests. Not only did this make the process exciting, but it also made it extremely rewarding.

So, now that you have advice on how to personalize your internship, take it into your own hands! Communicating with your internship supervisor is key and if you take this advice into consideration, you’ll get the most out of your internship experience. Good luck!

Making the Most of Your Summer Internship: Keep an Open Mind

By Elizabeth Zimmerman

So you landed your dream summer internship, but how can you make the most of it? One of the most important lessons I learned during my summer internship experience is to keep an open mind throughout all parts of the experience.

My first day at my internship, I was thrust into a series of “onboarding” sessions to help me get a feel for the agency and for the clients who I would be working with for the duration of my 12-week internship. Throughout the majority of my sessions, I was both overwhelmed and excited – especially when I discovered I would get to touch so many of the agency’s major accounts. However, when I found out that I would spend hours with an unfamiliar client, I wasn’t nearly as excited as I was when I found out that I would get to work on major consumer product goods accounts that had way more name recognition.

Amazingly throughout the course of the summer, the hours I got to work on the unfamiliar client ended up being some of my favorites. The account services team I worked with was so energetic and fun, and the client was so appreciative and receptive to my work. It was definitely a rewarding experience. I wish I had kept a more open mind at the beginning of my internship because I think I would have had an even better experience with the client and the team from the very start, instead of the weeks it took for me to warm up to them.

Keeping an open mind also helped me when it came to making meaningful connections and relationships at my job site. The internship agency placed a strong emphasis on cultivating relationships between their interns and every department (media planning/buying, client engagement, creative, etc.) so I made sure to make the most of these meetings. Even though I didn’t necessarily have an interest in working in each of these areas, going into these meetings with an open mind and a willingness to learn from anyone and everyone helped me to learn more about potential career opportunities. It also helped me to understand how the work that I was doing as an intern could be applied to each area of the agency.

An internship is a learning opportunity — not only about the industry, but also about you. Keeping an open mind and having a constant willingness to learn every day helped me to succeed at my internship and helped me to discern the kinds of work that I want to pursue in the future.

Dressing for Success: A guide to Dressing for Interviews

by Kaelyn Green

A job interview is your big moment to impress employers and like any important event in your life, you want to look your absolute best on the big day. So,there are some important dos’ and don’ts to looking professional, yet memorable.

Research, Research, Research! Dress codes vary among different industries and organizations and it is important to dress for your specific interview. See if the company is more laid back or more formal in dress. When researching websites and social media, also give a call to human resources and ask what they recommend as far as dress code attire. You want to appear professional and show that you fit in with the company.

Do NOT wear the rainbow. You’ll want to pay attention to the colors that you choose to wear. It’s better to stick with subtle colors; for instance, navy, brown, and black are always acceptable. It’s probably better to avoid that bright pink and green shirt or any loud patterns, textures, or colors. However, depending on the company, it may be okay to add little pops of color or other small statements pieces to show your personality. Accessories and shoes can make a big difference in an otherwise plain outfit.

Most importantly, bring your confidence! Whatever you choose to wear, wear it confidently with pride. Choose something that makes you feel good and is comfortable. The most successful of CEO’s will tell you that they have a favorite power outfit. Don’t forget that a look that makes you feel confident will make you look confident as well.

For more tips on what to wear to an interview check out some of these links:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/06/20/how-to-dress-for-your-next-job-interview/2/#313bb7656e08

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/11/08/how-to-dress-for-a-job-interview

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-gottsman/job-interview-dress-tips_b_3569050.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-gottsman/suiting-up-for-success-jo_1_b_3600474.html

 

Managing Internships during the School Year

By Kaelyn Green

Summer internships have become such a staple on the college bucket list, especially since many majors now require internships and students learn of their value. But internship opportunities are not just confined to the summer! There are many opportunities in the surrounding area during the academic year while at Elon. You may think with classes, extracurricular activities, and a social life, it may be difficult to manage your time with an internship. Not necessarily. Here are some tips for staying on top of things:

  1. Obtain A Daily Planner: The ultimate college staple! We all need one to keep us sane while tracking homework, exams, and events. Well, you can use it to plan your internship hours and assignments, too.. Also, make sure to plan ahead for any extra event hours at your internship! Practicing time management is crucial and a planner will help you stay focused.
  2. Plan Your Class Schedule: A big concern for students when looking into semester internships is balancing their class schedule with their internship. If you know you’re going to have an internship during the semester, consider your classes. Schedule your classes together rather than spreading them throughout the day. Also, perhaps you can schedule classes in the morning, or on days when you’re not an intern. This will help you stay organized and make planning ahead a lot easier.
  3. Create Your Own Opportunity: Can’t find an internship you like near you? If you know of several places in the area that you connect with, reach out to them! Some companies can comply with the internship requirements and construct a program with you. Make sure you do your research on the company and its staff beforehand to ensure the internship meets the school’s guidelines.
  4. Accept Help: Know your limits! It’s very easy to spread yourself too thin and it’s perfectly normal to struggle sometimes. Talk to your supervisor and internship professor when you start to feel the pressure. They can offer advice and work with you to manage your time and workload. Remember, this is a learning experience and it’s okay to accept help from others.
  5. Consider A Virtual Internship: While you can’t earn academic credit for it, this internship can help provide content for your ePortfolio. Virtual internships are internships that can be completed online and have become more popular over the last few years. They are especially common with blogging, social media, marketing and even design. Virtual internships are great because they cut out the commute time and save you that gas money.

Participating in a semester internship has many benefits and if you think that it fits you, then go for it! There are plenty of opportunities and resources that can help you find an internship. Check out the Hot Internships page on the Elon Communications website or contact the Communications Internship office for assistance.

 

Juggling Multiple Internship Offers?

By Adam (AJ) Roshfeld

Congratulations! You have been offered an internship, by multiple companies… so now what? You’ve spent countless hours scouring the Communications Hotlist, networking, and searching for the perfect internship, but you never thought you would have to TURN DOWN an offer.

It is very important to keep your connections strong and untarnished, so if you do find yourself needing to pull your application from a company, or decline an offer, it is key that you do it in an amicable way. You never know if you are going to cross paths with the organization again, or the people in them.

Always be appreciative, and stress that you are honored that the company selected you. Thank them for taking the time to consider you. Believe it or not, the hiring process is just as tricky on their end as it is for those applying. Be honest. Companies, and the people working for them all understand that the professional world is a competitive one.

Never accept multiple offers. Rescinding on an offer is very poor professional etiquette, and reflects poorly on Elon and your fellow peers. If you need time, ask for an extension. Most companies understand that students apply to many places. Again, be honest and work with them, but be wary that they also need to fill the position, so be considerate of their timeline.

You are in for a world of learning and growing. There is no better way to hone your skills than by being on the front lines doing real world projects. Ask questions, try new things, and always keep an open mind.

You’ll find more specifics here:

http://www.womenpoweringbusiness.com/how-to-handle-multiple-job-offers-with-grace/

http://chronicle.com/article/The-Best-Problem-Dealing-With/138957/

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/05/21/how-to-juggle-multiple-job-offers

 

Informational Interviews are Very Helpful

By Nicole Ackman

One of the best ways to learn more about internship opportunities and careers is the informational interview with people in those industries. And who better to interview than Elon alumni? You can find them in the Elon Job Network (Mentor’s tab).  Hundreds of alumni have signed on to help you, and welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

The best thing you can do for an informational interview is to prepare well for it. So make sure to have a list of questions ready to ask your interviewee. Here are some great questions you can ask to start a conversation:

1. What does your average day look like? Asking this question can reveal a lot about the actual work and provide insight about the company’s culture. You can also get a great sense of how much variety that job offers.

2. What is most appealing about your job? This is a fairly obvious question, but for a good reason. It’s a great opportunity for your interviewee to tell you the good things about the job and the company.

3. What is your biggest challenge about your job? Knowing the downsides of a job and company is perhaps even more important than knowing the good aspects.

4. Which skills are needed for this internship? The answer to this question lets you know what you need to work on between now and graduation. Your interviewee might say you need to develop skills with a particular software, or just to develop a professional quality, like organization.

5. What is your company looking for in an intern?  One of the only ways to discover the answer to this question is to ask someone who works there. It’s one of those topics that you often cannot find answers to in online research.

6. What advice would you offer someone coming into this field? What advice would you offer for someone applying for this internship? Make sure to pay attention to his or her response and use whatever he or she says.

Don’t forget: If you’re meeting someone for coffee or lunch for an informational interview, you should always offer to pay. Plus, follow up with a thank you note or email afterwards.

For more information on informational interviews and ideas for questions to ask, check out these websites:  How-to-land-and-ace-an-informational-interviewNon-awkward informational interviews

How To Keep In Touch With an Employer After An Internship 

By Simone Jackson

So you’ve successfully finished your internship and your employer tells you to “Keep in touch.” What does “keeping in touch” really mean? How often should you reach out to this employer? What should you contact them about? Here are 5 tips on how to keep in touch with employers, especially as you come close to the organization’s hiring months:

Tip 1: Write a handwritten Thank You note to your employer at the conclusion of the internship.

Email is quick and easy, but nothing comes close to the thoughtfulness of a handwritten note. Thank your employer for offering you the opportunity to intern at their organization and recite something you enjoyed or learned during your time there.

Tip 2: Follow the company and industry leaders on social media to keep in touch with the industry.

It’s not only important to try to keep in touch with your internship employer, but also to stay abreast of the industry. Remain relevant with new technologies and developing trends in order to converse intelligently with an employer and other industry professionals.

Tip 3: Email the employer relevant articles about the industry or client-related materials.

Sending an article that is relevant to the employer’s work shows that you are thinking of the business in a tactful way (and that you’re thinking of them, too!) For example, let’s say you interned for an advertising agency’s new business department. Sending an email to this employer about a recent new business the agency has won shows that you are keeping up with the work they’ve done and congratulating them on the company’s success.

Tip 4: Visit the office, if possible.

Simply, nothing beats face time. People often don’t remember names, but they will remember faces!

Tip 5: Do not bombard the employer with messages.

Touch base with them every few months and more often, if you are communicating with them about a future opportunity with their organization.

Keeping in touch is all about strategically showing an employer that you are up-to-date with what is happening in the industry and are interested in pursuing future opportunities with their organization.