My experience includes:
NYC: Wieden+Kennedy (advertising agency for Nike, Old Spice, Target, among others) working on the Jordan brand, Intern to the Illustrator for VIBE Magazine & Hill Holliday (another ad agency) working on the Verizon account
DC: Wardrobe Assistant for stylist Daisy Lewellyn on a national TV show & Creative Director for IPO Clothing Company
LONDON: Stylist at Quality Knitwear Vintage Boutique, Wardrobe Assistant at London Fashion Week
(Just in case anyone wanted to know my qualifications)
|One of the looks from the S/S 2011 Lookbook at my internship in London with QKW.|
1) No headphones in the office:
While it is tempting to blare your favorite artist when the day drags on, it makes you seem uninvolved and unaware. You can be missing important information and you definitely don't want your boss to have to repeat themselves because your headphones are in. Plus, lots of information might be said throughout the day that you just don't want to miss so trust me, ditch the headphones until the work day is over.
|At Dame Dash's museum in NYC the summer of my Wieden+Kennedy internship|
2) Speak and introduce yourself to EVERYONE in the office that you see:
Now, this doesn't mean to literally go to every one's desk on your first day and say "Hi, I'm Nia" then move on to the person next to them. If you are in the kitchen for a coffee break and see someone you've never met, say hello! You never know who you might meet. The HR coordinator at one of my old internships said she once sat at the receptionist desk before interviews just to see the candidates come in. One candidate came and didn't even acknowledge her, as if she was less important because she was the "secretary". Boy was he surprised when she said "Okay, thanks for waiting. We can go back to my office for the interview." At Wieden+Kennedy, the CEO has been known to sometimes dress as a janitor for the fun of it. You never know who you will encounter so be humble, say hello and network!
|Treat everyone the same, from janitor to CEO, and meet everyone that you can! (WK NYC office)|
3) Ask for business cards and give out yours:
Whether you wait until the internship is over or when you first meet someone ALWAYS get the business card. The contact is not a true relationship formed if you have no way to reach out to them after the summer is over. Simply say something like "It was great talking to you, is it okay if I have a business card to reach out for further questions?" and most people are more than happy to oblige. Remember if you didn't get their card, you didn't get the contact and make sure to give them yours in return. If you don't have one, make one quick, it is easy and simple from websites such as VistaPrint
4) Always maintain professionalism in the office:
Even if people are cursing, gossiping and being casual with you, remember to be professional with them. It is okay to have fun and joke, but as an intern you are always being watched and you are the newest employee there! Do not get too comfortable because you want them to remember you as a professional so you can be in their minds as a great candidate for a full time position.
|It's always cool when your office has toys like this to play with but remember, you are there to work so that comes first! (At the WK Office in Portland)|
5) Don't be a lush at office parties:
If you are old enough to drink, you will see that office parties are a fun time for free food, networking and free drinks! However, while there will likely be beer and wine in abundance, drink responsibly and sparingly! No one wants to be the drunk girl or guy at the work party, especially not the intern. It's not classy or appropriate and once again, you're always being watched! If you are not 21, just don't even try it.
6) Get involved with the company's extracurriculars:
I joined my company's softball team as an intern for Hill Holliday and had an amazing time! It was fun, got me out of work an hour early once a week and a way to form a more personal relationship with some of the professionals at the office. If you have the time and your company has any teams, try to join!
|Two other interns and myself pose as we prepare for the week's softball game. We mean business!|
7) Be willing to do whatever they need (within boundaries of course)
Getting coffee, printing power points all day, maybe even walking the dog...whatever the boss needs you to do is what your job is! So many people are unable or unwilling to humble themselves for the less luxurious responsibilities like the ones mentioned but for those that do, it shows that you truly want the position and are willing to help in any way that you can. Your small deeds will not go unnoticed.
|Preparing looks for QKW's S/S 2011 Lookbook was extremely fun but the tasks will not always be preferable.|
Whenever I had down time in any of my internships, I always went to other departments that I was interested in and introduced myself, like the Art Buying department at Hill Holliday. Then, I would ask if they needed help with any of their projects. It was a way to meet even more people in the office and work on something that I had more of a passion with, like art. From there, I was invited to various events with the head Art Buyer at Hill Holliday, including a party where I had the chance to meet celebrity and entertainment photographers like Kwaku Alston!
|Stylist Daisy Lewellyn and I talked and took pictures during down time at the TV show shooting.|
9) Ask Questions:
You can never ask too many questions and no question is a dumb one. Your boss and the others in your department completely understand that you are an intern, and they have all been in your shoes. Ask for further explanation when you are confused and don't be scared to ask questions about their career in general as people love to talk about themselves =)
10) Create something your company will love!
When you have down time, it is cool to think of a project that you can work on and leave with your company as a memory of you and to further inspire them. For example, when I interned at Wieden+Kennedy, another intern and I developed a WK Lookbook in which we featured the fashion styles of the employees. We later expanded the lookbook to include the Portland employees (including the CEO) and ended up having our blog featured on the WK official website! It was yet another way to network and it's something that company will have from us forever.
|Here is one of the images from our lookbook that we created!|
Trust me when I say, I have so much advice to give and this just barely touches the list of things that can help you fulfill your internship to the fullest. Please feel free to shoot me any questions if you want to know more and I'll be happy to answer! If there is anything you want me to add let me know! =)
Best of luck in your internship and wish me luck at mine ;-)