As the New Year approaches, I like to take time to reflect on the year that has passed and how I can advise and teach those who may, right now, be where I was four months ago. A mere four months ago, I started my journey as a marketing intern with a growing marketing firm in my hometown. Excited and anxious about the opportunity, I stepped into my first internship with Hot Dog Marketing and gained an abundance of knowledge that had never known existence within my mind. The experiences (and learning curves) in my time as a marketing intern encouraged me to share my own advice and the things I learned as a marketing intern with those who may soon follow in the same footsteps.
There are many, many aspects and components of marketing such as online marketing, SEO, video marketing and more that I could go into, but the incredible amount of detail would overwhelm someone looking for sage advice before starting an internship. Therefore, the following advice for a future marketing intern is the first step on the ladder to success.
Organization is your best friend
Although I try to remain organized on a daily basis in both my personal and professional life, it’s best to create and follow a system of organization that is both detailed and keeps you on schedule. When I have a seemingly never-ending list of tasks and projects to complete in a day, one of the ways I organize is to prioritize tasks and projects by urgency and priority. Urgent items hold my focus first, then I move on to priority items. If there is a task that I know will take a lot of time and could possibly result in mental burnout, I will schedule a specific block of time to focus on that task and when the time is up, I move on to something else and come back later. When you practice a system consistently, you will realize that organization becomes habitual and you won’t be able to function without it.
Always ask questions
It can be extremely daunting to ask for help in an environment you’re unfamiliar with. If you haven’t been assigned a mentor during your internship, I recommend going out and finding one. Make sure this person has enough knowledge about the company and its practices to give you answers and advice when necessary and also make sure they have adequate time during the day to do so. If you cannot find a specific person to look to as a mentor during your internship, indulge in cross-training on your own. When you see someone (in your department or another) performing a task you’re unfamiliar with, ask them questions about the project they’re working on. Although, if they’re working under a tight deadline, save your questions for the next time you see them around the breakroom. Knowing more about the tasks performed and the projects different people work on will give you a better understanding and perspective on the projects and the people within that department. Cross-training can also become beneficial when you’re assigned new projects because you will know which questions to ask early on.
Research, research, and more research
In any career field, but especially in marketing, research is extremely important. You need to know your audience well and you should be on top of any industry innovations and updates. Essentially, the research component comprises of reading online articles and blogs…all the time. Another important research element should be your company’s clients. You should probably know them as well or even better than your own company. Start with the company history and then move on to your client’s audience and their clients. This way, you won’t alienate any of your client’s audience or their respective clients in the tasks or projects you complete. Additionally, it’s likely that when you start as a marketing intern you won’t know everything about every digital platform out there, especially when new online marketing tools are invented almost every day. There internet is basically a digital encyclopedia, filled with infinite knowledge – use it!
The things I learned as a marketing intern boosted my knowledge, my work ethic and my professional as well as personal life. An internship opens the door to a world full of opportunity for experience and learning, so dive in!
Recent Public Relations graduate and intern-turned content marketing specialist. When I’m not swimming through waves of web pages for new content, you can find me at hockey games or reading a fantastic book.