Three Important Tips for Starting an Internship

July 15, 2013

interns-300x144Starting an internship is a bit like working out for the first time. Your mind is determined to succeed but your body is not there yet – or in this case, your body is there but your mind is out of shape.

Embrace the soreness

Good internships challenge you in ways that are uncomfortable. Like exercising for the first time, you realize that it takes time to develop ‘muscles,’ and that soreness is a sign of progress.

One of the biggest lessons I learned during my internship is that feedback is a gift. This can be one of the most painful processes you experience as an intern; it’s hard to hear about your shortcomings and it’s uncomfortable to be told where you are weak. But knowledge is power. Once you understand your weaknesses, you can begin to improve.

Early on, it was evident that my organizational skills needed work. Once my colleagues identified this as an area I needed to work on, I began to seek out ways to become more organized. I used different tools; I went on Ketchum’s Intranet and found tips there, I experimented with my Outlook settings and I tried different approaches of writing out my weekly tasks. Although this is something I will always have to work on, I am discovering what works for me and I am proactively looking for ways to improve.

Celebrate your strength

While working on your weaknesses, it is important to seek out ways to demonstrate your strengths. Whether it’s bringing creative ideas to brainstorms, building relationships with media or flawlessly executing an event, demonstrating and celebrating your strengths is paramount to a positive internship experience. If you don’t find a way to prove your merit, you won’t get the most out of your experience and you’ll be less invested in your work.

Stretch beyond your flexibility

Ketchum has countless opportunities on both a local and global level. It’s up to you to seek them out. When I was presented the opportunity to write this blog, I decided to explore Ketchum’s network by going to New York and meeting former interns there. By doing so, I learned that I was not alone in the challenges I faced, I connected with Ketchum colleagues from another country and I bridged my own experiences with theirs.

When I first thought of this blog, I was nervous to ask my manager, thinking that it was an unrealistic proposal. I finally worked up the courage to ask and not only did she support my initiative, she helped connect me to the right people to make it happen. This is what makes Ketchum so great; it’s a place that encourages you to stretch father then you think you can go.

I remember the nervous excitement I felt on the day I started as an intern and the happiness that pulsed through me, knowing that I had accomplished the very significant goal of getting an internship at Ketchum. Eight months later, I realize how important it has been to maintain that excitement.

My mentor once told me that happiness is being able to look back and measure your success in terms of your accomplishments, instead of just checking off a goal once it’s completed. Looking back, I see how far I’ve come and how much I have grown both professionally and personally and I can see that my current happiness and excitement is a result of this growth.

Emilie is a creative powerhouse who applies imaginative ideas to all aspects of her work. She finds inspiration from the exceptional to the ordinary, using social platforms like Instagram to document her view of the world.

As an Account Coordinator at Ketchum’s Toronto’s office, Emilie works in the tech and consumer practices. In this position, she provides assistance to account teams through tactical support activities including securing media opportunities, writing creative materials, nurturing relationships with media, executing media events and providing insightful, strategic ideas to program planning and development.