Going into this internship I had a lot of questions for myself – Would I like working at an agency? What could I do to stand out? How would this internship help me in my career? As I reflect on my last five months here at Hope-Beckham Inc., I realize how much I have grown as a writer and communicator and as a person. This fast-paced, hands-on environment has provided me with valuable lessons, skills and networking opportunities that can now help me transition into getting my first full-time job. While not every job requires prior-internship experience, I believe it’s a benefit for both students and recent graduates seeking to gain real-world experience and to find out if this particular job and industry is the right fit. As for me, my internship experience strengthened my belief that I am in the right place.
What has made this internship so invaluable to me is the exposure to various client projects, the ability to expand my writing portfolio, and the guidance and support of the HBI team. Client projects such as ESPN Events’ Celebration Bowl, Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation’s fall fundraiser and Georgia Proton Treatment Center’s behind-the-scenes tours are just a few projects that I have assisted on that have given me unique, memorable experiences that I never imagined possible before this internship. Quite possibly the best part about interning for HBI is the people you get to meet at meetings and events due to HBI's influence in the Atlanta community. For example, I met and got a picture with former University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley because my boss Bob Hope knew I wanted a picture and made it happen. You just never know who you are going to meet!
Each day here is full of opportunities so what you learn and take away is totally up to you. Regardless of where you are interning, it’s important to challenge yourself and to truly get to know the people you work with. As my internship comes to an end, I have a few takeaways listed below that may be helpful to those seeking internship positions or entry-level jobs.
Be positive in your daily interactions with others. It’s not always easy having a positive attitude, especially if your workload is heavy. However, just having a smile on your face is something that clients and colleagues alike will notice and appreciate.
Be productive even if there isn’t much work to do. Agencies can be slow at times so ask around and a colleague is sure to have something you can help with. This will remind everyone in the office of your presence, as well as your ambition and work ethic.
Always check your emails and respond. You always want to make sure you respond, even if it’s just to let someone know you’ve received the message. You also want to make sure you reply to everyone copied in an email. As I have failed to do this myself, take my word for it – no one wants to be left out of a message, especially when it applies to him/her.
Presentation always matters. Don’t just send your colleague what is considered “acceptable.” One way to stand out is to make sure your work lines up to what others in the company prepare. Even if it’s just reformatting your notes or an email, it’s always better to go above and beyond than to give less.
Prioritize your tasks. At times it will seem like everyone needs your help. It is up to you to prioritize your assignments based on deadlines and to let your manager know when you’re overwhelmed so he/she can help you when needed.
Lastly, no one expects you to be perfect or to know everything when you start. An internship is a learning experience. With that in mind, be sure to proofread assignments and ask for clarity when needed.