An Amateur’s Guide on How Not to be a Stereotypical Millennial.

Earlier this month as I sat listening to The Herald Group’s panel on the growing importance of the millennial generation, it was not surprising to hear some of the statistics about our size, approach, and performance.  We are a new generation with very different ideas and very different ways of thinking.  Our approach may be different, but it does not mean we are not making a positive difference in today’s society.  Regardless, millennials still have something to learn about the workplace.

I was fortunate to be hired as an intern by THG to help with some graphic design work this summer.  I must admit I knew very little about the PR industry, but was excited for the opportunity to learn something new in addition to doing some design work.   At first I thought THG was a little unsure what I could do for them, but it was not long before I was immersed in plenty of projects.  This experience has been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.  Although I am far from an expert, I may be able to offer some suggestions to other new interns.

1. Make a trial run to the office on a business day before your first day and allow extra time for unforeseen circumstances.

That may seem like a no brainer, but although I consider myself very organized and always plan ahead this was my first mistake as an intern.  On my first day I left in plenty of time, or so I thought.  How was I to know there would be a sink hole right in the middle of a main intersection, which would block off several streets and create a detour, not to mention a line of backed up traffic in downtown, DC?  Of course I was late, which made me a wreck and could have given my boss a bad first impression.

2. Make the most of the opportunity.

Although I did not know a lot about public relations when I started, I did tons of research so that I could make an impact and offer input.  The people you will be working for are very busy and won’t have time to hold your hand.  If you want to help (and I assume that is why you were hired) do some research on your own time.  Think of ways you can help without always being told what to do.

3. Dress for success.

I am sure you have heard it before, but it really does not take much effort (or money) to dress appropriately for the office.  Invest in a few basics.  You don’t want to look like a college student as an intern.

4. Listen to what your boss wants.

This does not only apply to graphic designers or artists, but as artists we sometimes have a tendency to get a little lost in a creation while losing focus on the goal of the project.  I have had to learn that what I enjoy creating and what the company needs are not always the same.  Unless you enjoy wasting your time and the company’s money, focus on exactly what your boss wants. Or, provide two options – one that meets the requirements and one with your spin on it.

5.  Be grateful.

In this economy if any company is offering you an internship, be grateful and work extra hard.  Those fun nights out can wait.  It will never be time wasted and who knows where it will lead.  Please try not to be the stereotypical millennial and expect to have it all handed to you, there is a reason work is called work!

Working with The Herald Group has been an invaluable experience for me and I am grateful to them for taking a chance on me.  I can honestly say that THG is an incredible group of hard working professionals.  They have gone out of their way to make the interns feel welcome this summer and have given each of us opportunities to do things we wanted to do while at the company.  They have truly desired for us to learn and get experience in this fascinating field of public relations.  I feel as though I have learned more in this summer than in my 3 years in college.  Thank you to everyone at THG for this opportunity.