As my internship with KC Communications comes to an end, I’ve put together a few tips on how to thrive in a working environment. My brief stint with KC was my first ‘career job’, if you like, and I think it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that there are few better platforms upon which to learn the trade.
Below is my nine-step guide on being a good intern!
1. Don’t strive for perfection
It’s the common folly of all interns. People at the start of their careers can spend their whole time trying to prove they’re good enough that they slip up on the little things. I have been guilty of this. But we’re not designed to be perfect. That’s the whole point of an internship; making mistakes, learning from them, developing, etcetera. Katrina is as loyal as they come. The last thing she will do is hold a mistake against you. And mistakes often come from our own eagerness to impress. If you do mess up, which you will, don’t sweat it too much.
It’s important to remember, from time to time, that everyone screws up now and again. What’s important is that you learn from it and don’t make the same mistake twice.
2. Speak up
Even when you’re pretty certain you know what you’re doing. A phrase you’ll come to hear in the office almost every day is ‘sanity check’. ‘Could you just sanity check this for me?’ ‘Just a quick sanity check…’ And so on. Speaking up when you’re unsure is not a sign of incompetence. On the contrary; it’s actually the main symptom of a good learner. So, deduce things as best you can, have a good go at it, and ask for a sanity check.
And then ask again, just to be sure.
3. Keep asking questions
There’s no such thing as a silly question. Badger your colleagues until you get what need. You’re lucky to be surrounded by a workforce that will go above and beyond to help you out. There’s a reason the Account Managers are so good at what they do; it’s because they’re so meticulous and stringent with their work that there’s hardly any leftover room for error. And a lot of this is to do with their impressive tendency to question everything.
4. Voice your ideas
Trust me, I know how daunting it is to express your own ideas to seasoned professionals. But this is something that will really impress the people you’re working with. It might be something as arbitrary as the anatomy of a press release, but if you’ve had success doing it a certain way (which you may have been taught elsewhere), share it. KC welcomes new ideas and methods. Sharing ideas is a giant step in developing yourself, as well as the business you’re serving.
5. Take a step back
There are going to be days when your workload is such that you will wonder how on earth you’re going to make it through the day with your sanity still in check. The absolute worst thing you can do at a time like this is rush. Rushing begets mistakes. Take a step back, put things in order, and do it in your own time.
If a task is not urgent, reschedule its deadline. Even if it’s for tomorrow. Your peers won’t mind; they’ll like your initiative and organisational skills. As long as other people know you’ve extended your deadline, or reshuffled your workload, there will be no problem. Just don’t do everything at once; even the pros can’t do that.
6. Join in
KC is a really fun place to work. Conversations vary from intellectually stimulating to downright outrageous. Try and join in on them. If I, a young man barely into adulthood, who still eats cereal twice a day and has a phobia of hot drinks, can join in on conversations held by proper adults (some of whom have children!), then you’ve no excuse not to. Don’t sit there and let conversations pass you by. Make a fool of yourself if you have to. But join in.
7. Take your opportunities for extra learning
You’ll get to know that KC is a business which invests heavily in its staff. There are always opportunities for further development; whether it’s personal development training, social media flight-schools, or attending external courses, there are opportunities galore.
So the adage goes; you get out what you put in.
8. ASK FOR HELP!
You’re not expected to know everything. Interns aren’t hired for that. Likelihood is you’re at the start of your career. You won’t have been exposed to a lot of the tools or methods used at KC. As mentioned above, asking questions is the sign of a good learner. You will encounter a lot of challenging work during your time here, and you’re not expected to breeze through. If you find yourself breezing through, it might be because you’ve misunderstood the task. Ask for help; KC is a company that gives you plenty!
9. Don’t mention Love Island
It’s a quick-fire route to the sack. And so it should be. There are many undeserving taboos in this life, but openly conversing on the subject of Love Island is not one of them? How unfair life can sometimes be.