How to Intern | Intern Diaries #3

Last Friday my Indianapolis Monthly internship came to an end. It was an amazing experience getting to work there! I'm also glad my other internship with Eco Partners is still hanging on for a few more days. The past three summers there have prepared me for the "real world" more than anything else (and my boss is really cool- hi Elizabeth!).

But being an intern can be a scary, terrifying thing if you don't know what you're getting into. It helps to have some advice going in so that coming out you feel like an expert on all things learning and working for free.

For all you interns out there, here are five tips for having an awesome internship:

How to Intern: Top 5 Tips
  1. Ask questions. I'm someone who won't start a task until I know exactly what's expected of me and what I need to accomplish it. While that can be a little extreme, don't feel like you can't ask your supervisor how to do something. She/he wants to help!
  2. Don't be afraid of "why." "Why does the company do this?" "Why does Sally look at this?" "Why are we doing this?" When phrased correctly, asking "why" only shows that you're curious about the company and what they do. You're here to learn. Asking why is the best way to do that!
  3. Get outside the office. No matter where you intern, there's more to it than sitting at a desk all day. Go out to lunch with fellow interns. Explore the nearby businesses and events. Ask to attend a conference or photo shoot. Take a staff member you want to talk to more out to coffee. These experiences can become the most valuable of your internship!
  4. Take initiative. This is the hardest one for me: asking for something I want. At my internships, it was fairly simply to ask for a certain task. Both offered me countless opportunities. But even if that's not the case for you, don't be afraid of asking if you can take something on. Even if the answer is no, they'll be impressed that you weren't afraid to ask and they might turn to you when a project you can help with comes up.
  5. And finally, breathe. This is an internship, and while it's important to take it serious and make a good impression, it is not a job. It's okay if you slip up once or twice or if you're totally lost on a project. You're still a student first, and no one expects you to be perfect. Just do your best and work hard and people will take notice.

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:

Any of you have internships this fall or just completed summer ones? What are your internship tips?


The Presentation | Intern Diaries #2

The summer internships continue, and a couple weeks ago I met the CEO of Emmis Communications, the company that owns Indianapolis Monthly.

One thing I love about Emmis is how the company cares so much about the audiences of its media. While magazines and radio are typically considered more "traditional" media, this company has managed to make them cool and accessible.

I think that comes from the focus on giving the audience what they want AND need. One of the company's commandments is "Take care of your audiences and your advertisers – think of them and you’ll win." Emmis anticipates what people want before they want it, something increasingly more difficult to do in the Internet age.

So I was excited to try it myself when the Indianapolis Monthly interns teamed up to create "20-things for 20-somethings to do in Indy," a guide to our favorite things for our age group. It was a ton of work, but we really got to know each other and what it takes to create information with a team. Plus, we got to present the finished product to interns in the other Emmis departments and the CEO of the company, Jeff Smulyan, as well as our advisors.

As we showed the process on the screen behind us and talked about all we learned, I realized just how much you can take away from an internship. Sure, I know a ton about the ins-and-outs of a regional magazine. But I also know about working with an art team, the best ways to communicate (both on a team and to the public), and how to work on a deadline. All valuable things I can take no matter where I end up in a year (#thatsterrifying). 

So thanks, IM internship. I may only have four weeks left, but I promise to make the best of them.

So, now I want to know: what valuable things have you learned from an internship or a job?


Like Bees to Honey | Intern Diaries #1

Like Bees to Honey | Intern Diaries #1

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to attend this focus group or not. The posters plastered in the elevator, in front of the elevator doors, by the water cooler (yes, literally a water cooler), and in the stairway, plus the email sent a few weeks ago, weren't quite enough.

Oh, but the pizza was.

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