Iliyana's Blog

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

[fa icon="calendar"] 13-Mar-2012 12:30:00 / 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


  • 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’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 Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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