Most college students have a goal of obtaining an internship before graduation to get real world experience and explore their career path. An internship experience can help you better understand what part of your career path you like the most or what areas really peaks your interest. I’m currently an intern at OGK Creative, and have learned so many things in just a matter of 3 months. At first, I was nervous to work at a creative agency because I knew that everyone around me was talented and experienced.
There’s a perception that in order to work at a creative agency, you have to be in the creative field, and I’m here to tell you that’s false.
I’m a senior in college, majoring in Management Information Systems (no correlation to creative). I’ve taken a couple of marketing courses throughout college, but nothing compares to getting the real experience through an internship at a creative agency. I’ve shadowed, experienced, and learned all things related to creative and marketing like SEO, the design process, production, and photoshoots. I’ve been in multiple meetings with clients and have been exposed to a handful of different campaigns and projects. I’ve seen the teamwork and communication between the different departments to build new websites for their clients, and ultimately drive successful brands. Now, three months into my internship, I want to share with you 5 things I’ve learned so far:
1. Asking questions is how you succeed as an intern
If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone! I was working on a design for a blog post and wasn’t even remotely familiar with the software I was using. I walked over to the art department and asked one of the designers to help me. She came over and helped me use a specific tool for the design. Once she got back to her desk, I got a message from her with shortcuts for the program, tips, and more. From there, I was able to quickly and effectively complete the task at hand. Not only that, but it helps me to build connections with the other people in the office.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions because it truly opens the door to learn new things. A lot of people fear asking questions because they don’t want to admit that they don’t know how to complete something. Maybe you’re worried people will think you’re dumb, or maybe you’re just shy. As an intern, no question is a bad one, and it’s encouraged by everyone at the company to always be curious and hungry to learn.
I always make sure to ask my teammates how I’m doing on a certain task to make sure I’m on the right track, or where I could make improvements. With clarification, it makes it light years easier to avoid any mistakes. At the beginning of any new job, you’re going to have a lot of questions until you’re familiar with the job and the tools they use, but it’s important to remember that everyone has been in your position before. More importantly, always remember that everyone wants you to be successful.
2. Everything is part of the learning process
During your internship experience, you’re going to complete tasks that you probably have never done before and that’s okay! Everything is a learning process and this opportunity is meant for you to learn new things and grow as a professional. While interning at OGK, I was given tasks that I’ve never completed before. With help and guidance from my supervisor, I was able to complete them and learn a new skill at the same time. I learned to create graphics in Adobe InDesign and edit photos in Adobe Lightroom with the help of designers, not having any previous experience with Adobe or any graphic design software. I’ve learned SEO and Marketing tools, and even the ins and outs of a full-on commercial production set. This is a great learning experience outside of school, so be sure to use it to learn things that you can’t with classes in school. These are things that a typical Management Information Systems student just would never get to experience!
3. Always keep an open mind
Being open-minded is key to a successful internship. Having an open mind can help you learn new things and discover new interests that you might not have ever come across otherwise. It can also help you get your foot in the door for every opportunity that comes your way. I had no previous background in film production, design, or even digital marketing. I attended a STEM middle and high school and am currently studying a tech field in college. Because of that, I was always surrounded with people pursuing a career in STEM and have never worked with artists or producers.
I’ve kept an open-mind during this experience and assisted with commercial shoots for a client, shadowed the art directors, helped design a new website, and worked with the digital marketing team to increase engagement for a number of companies. Shadowing and assisting with tasks helped put things into a new perspective for me. It’s essential to be open-minded because of the many doors it can open for you. I was open to learning new things and it helped me peak an interest in both web design and helping brands grow through digital marketing. To have an open-mind means being open to trying new things and interacting with individuals who have different talents/interests from you. This to me is one of the most important parts of any internship experience, because otherwise you’re forcing yourself to stay in your own narrow lane.
4. It’s a great opportunity, so have fun with it!
Remember that this is a memorable experience so be sure to make the most out of it. The famous saying “you get out of it what you put into it” definitely applies here. I always make sure to spend time getting to know my teammates and engage in conversations with them.
The times where I have been most engaged in conversations and activities have been during our lunch break. It’s the part of the day where everyone kicks back and relaxes for an hour, and just talks about life–the things we enjoy doing, current events, how our lives are going in general. It’s important to meet new people and make friends with your teammates. The environment around you affects you and your work ethic, and building good relationships with your teammates can help make your experience better, and even be more productive on the job. I know that I get more motivated knowing that I have accountability to produce quality deliverables and make my teammates and our clients happy. This entire experience is a learning process, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it.
5. Challenge yourself
Lastly, and most definitely, challenge yourself. In the beginning of your internship, things might be a little slow. Not every day is going to be an extremely busy day. Some days you’re not assigned multiple tasks or projects. This is the time to communicate with your boss and see if there’s any additional work you can help them out with. You can also ask your teammates and see if they need help with any tasks or projects. Never settle for just getting by. This ties into being open and asking questions. Taking opportunities and making the most of them is one thing, but creating opportunities for yourself is another. Showing your value and offering assistance is one of the best things any intern can do to be successful.
I’ve learned that communication is extremely important in the office, and I know it’s the same for every business. Keep in mind that the goal of an internship is to not only help you gain experience, but to also add value to the company and contribute to their goals. Knowing your strengths and where you want to improve, and seizing those opportunities to improve will help you be the best intern you can be for yourself, and for the company. That is what an internship is all about.
To wrap up…
I’ve learned so many things during my internship at OGK Creative. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone and collaborated with people in the digital marketing, creative, studios, and development team. Prior to this internship, I did not have real-world experience and this was a great way to dip my toe into the marketing and branding worlds. I wasn’t aware of all of the time and effort that is spent on projects and web development, or the mere amount of creative power that a team of people could possess. I’ve learned the significance of teamwork and collaboration and it’s reflection on the company’s accomplishments. I’m very grateful for OGK Creative and the opportunity of working with an amazing team. With my 5 tips and a positive mindset and attitude, I’m certain that your internship experience will be just as memorable as mine.