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What my Summer Internship Taught me - Dos and Don'ts

[fa icon="calendar"] 13-Mar-2012 11:30:00 / by Iliyana Stareva

Last summer I served an 8-week internship in Social Media Marketing at Delta Agentur – Advertising and Communications Agency in Germany. I was part of their Social Media Team and it was certainly a very enlightening and fun experience too.

I am not going to write about everything I actuallylearnings-social-media-internship did that summer, but about the most relevant ones I believe are of importance for my future career in PR. So, among other things I was writing various blog posts (listed here) and copy for different websites and publicity materials that the agency was responsible for. I was also engaging with Facebook followers and supported the agency’s Twitter stream with content.

All this included a lot of research, monitoring and listening in various online channels and I must admit these activities very much helped me gain a deep understanding of social media networking.

Besides the fact that it looks great on my CV (by the way, this is a great CV template I discovered), here’s what this internship ‘taught’ me in a nutshell:

  • I gained some valuable insights into agency life and how the industry itself works;
  • I gathered hands-on Social Media Marketing experience;
  • I improved my research and monitoring skills;
  • I was able to network and make some interesting connections as well as good friends;
  • I managed to even build my own Twitter network;
  • I managed to learn a lot about digital PR;
  • I know now how to take the best out of my future internships or jobs.

Most importantly however I found out that I LOVE WRITING. I never really thought of myself before as a writer, but guess what, maybe I’m not a great writer (yet), but I certainly enjoy it, which in the end is what matters most. This indeed is one of the reasons why this internship was an enlightening experience. The other one is that I discovered my dream career – public relations.

There is one thing I do regret though – I didn’t always ask all the questions I had or demanded more work and to participate in more projects after I was finished with my responsibilities. This had to do with the fact that I didn’t want to be pushy and I was feeling unsecure since it was my first job in a different country and in a language that I am not native in. What’s important however is that I realize this now and I can learn from my mistakes.

So having said all this, here are my tips for you and for myself that I will be taking into consideration during my next internships:

What my Summer Internship Taught me - Dos and Don'ts

Dos:

  • Do ask questions and speak up your ideas and opinions.
  • Do show initiative and ask for more work.
  • Do try to learn more and acquire skills beyond your usual responsibilities and activities.
  • Do make connections.
  • Do follow deadlines.
  • Do act professionally.
  • Do ask for clarification if you are insecure about something or don’t understand a requirement.
  • Do ask for constant feedback on your work.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t be pushy, cocky or impolite.
  • Don’t complain when unnecessary and don't forget you are there to learn.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself when you haven’t done something right – learn from your mistakes.
  • Don’t be scared to ask questions, any questions.
  • Don’t forget to carefully listen to what your supervisor or boss is saying.
  • Don’t just go to work, enjoy it and try to get to know your colleagues.
  • Don’t be late.
  • Don’t dress inappropriately.
  • Don’t forget to say “thank you”.

 

What did your internships teach you? Do you have any other advice?

 

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Topics: Work Experience

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Program Manager in the Chief of Staff office for CX EMEAR at Cisco where she is the operational leader for all things Customer Success. In her previous roles at HubSpot, she led major cross-functional change for the global Partner Program with her detail-oriented approach to project management and advised hundreds of agencies on how to transform their businesses with inbound and digital. During that time, she earned the globally recognised Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification by the PMI. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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