When I started planning my senior year at Mercer University, I also began looking for an internship. Internships allow college students to immerse themselves in a particular field and can start them on a career path. Students can explore internships that spark their interest, challenge them and help them develop their skills and expertise.
In my case, I wanted to strengthen the knowledge I learned in class and gain real world experience. I’ve been working as a marketing intern at Aptean since last summer, and as my internship comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my time here. I’ve not only done important work, but I’ve also learned invaluable lessons that I’ll refer to after I graduate.
#1 - Ask questions
“Always ask questions” is something I’ve been told since elementary school, and it’s just as important in a professional setting. Asking for clarification or for further information ensures that you understand the full scope of a project. It also can prevent you from making mistakes. Asking questions is not something to shy away from, and usually people have no problem going into more depth or taking the extra time to explain something to you.
#2 - Take initiative
I learned to always take the initiative. Don’t be afraid to propose a new idea or a different approach. The worst that will happen is someone says “no,” and even then you learn. You may need to refine your idea or improve your delivery. Proposing ideas show that you’re interested and want to participate.
#3 - Network
Networking is an important skill to learn early on. Reaching out to people in the office and getting to know more about them is important in building your professional network. Connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know the relationships that other people may have and how they could help you in the future.
#4 - Learn public speaking
Becoming confident when speaking in public is an ability that takes time to develop. At some point, you will have to give a presentation or speak to a room full of unfamiliar people. Being comfortable with speaking in front of others in a professional setting will make you that much stronger in your career down the line.
#5 - Show your passion
Even in professional settings, creative passion has a place. If you’re passionate about photography, graphic design, video production or anything else, look for ways you can use your talent to help the company meet its objectives.
Interning at Aptean gave me the opportunity to further realize my passions and develop stronger skills in marketing that I would not have been able to gain in a classroom. Most importantly, Aptean helped to teach me workplace skills that I’ll be able to apply and build on as I transition from college student to professional.