4 Lessons Learned During My Internship—From THG’s Summer 2013 Interns
The end of an internship can be bittersweet. On one hand, you’re proud of yourself for making it through your first (or for some us, fifth) internship without giving up. On the other hand, you’ve become a valuable team player for your company and hate to say goodbye so soon.
The time has come for us to say goodbye to The Herald Group. While we each took something different from this experience, we can unanimously say that our time here has been unforgettable. From the day-to-day tasks to playing vital roles in the company’s first successful public event, we learned a lot and have grown personally as well as professionally. Thank you to our wonderful internship coordinator, Meghan, for helping us quickly learn the ropes and become team players, as well as everyone else at THG.
To future Herald Group interns, here are a few lessons we learned that can help you:
THG Summer 2013 Interns
- Take Initiative—As a recent college grad, I wanted to get as much experience and learn as much as I could from the company. Doing what is required of you is okay but going above and beyond not only helps your company, but also benefits your career journey. In addition to completing the typical intern duties you’re expected to do, seek opportunities where you can polish old and new talents. Not only will your superiors notice and commend you, you open up the possibility to be given more opportunities. For example, during THG’s weekly staff meetings I would always hear staffers mention writing op-eds for clients. Intrigued and eager to do something new, I decided to take a stab at drafting one myself. While the final product differed from my initial draft, I was proud of myself for trying to do something that full-time staffers do and my colleagues took notice. Take the initiative, meet more people and receive more opportunities.
- Schedule an Evaluation Meeting —About half way through the internship, ask to sit down with your internship coordinator or main superior to discuss your progress so far. Seek constructive feedback and ask questions about your productivity, effectiveness, and contributions to the team. You’ll be surprised how positively you are perceived and what you learn, which can only help you in the long run.
- Seek a Mentor— Finding and approaching a mentor during an internship can be highly beneficial when it comes to personal development and mastering your intern duties. While I have had a few mentors prior to this internship the majority of them were professors and relatives. This was the first time I sought out mentors in a professional setting. The great thing about mentorships is that you can ask the questions you may be too nervous to ask someone else in the company about. This helps you avoid mistakes and can also lead to higher productivity levels. Furthermore, mentors can act as sounding boards to bounce ideas off of. The more mentors the merrier. Take advantage of the vast variety of people’s backgrounds and skill sets. I find that with mentorships I feel more confident in my work and produce better content.
- Learning Curve— As a college undergrad and summer intern I found myself living in both the adult world as well as the student one. This summer was the time when I started to become financially responsible which allowed me to explore more options in my life and career. When looking for internships, apply for those that will challenge you, develop your skills, and that you are curious about. If possible you should try to diversify your intern experiences to maximize your knowledge, skill base and mentorships. After interning with The Herald Group I have a better understanding of the type of work environment, firm size and the key practices I find most interesting and would like to experience in my next internship. Furthermore, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to learn, adapt, and ask questions. I relish in this internship as it was a big leap for me and I plowed right past my comfort zone, but the rewards were huge and I am now more prepared for my next big leap.
Interns, what would you add from your learning experiences? PR professionals, can you remember your biggest take-away from your first internships in the industry?