Tips for Internship

Liis Hainla is a Metropolia Business School student studying European Management. Liis completed her work placement in a digital marketing firm called DreamGrow Digital. Liis agreed to share a part of her Placement Portfolio where she gives out recommendations for students interested in DreamGrow and marketing in general, as well as gives 5 tips on how to get the most out of any internship regardless of the company and industry:

About DreamGrow and digital marketing

I’d recommend DreamGrow Digital for the students who’d prefer working in a small company but still have the ambition to become an expert in digital marketing field. The company is a perfect jumping platform for a bigger international career. You go through a thorough training, stay up-to-date with the global digital marketing trends and get lots of responsibility right from the start. Mistakes are allowed, the work atmosphere is great and my boss always liked to remind me: “done is better than perfect.”

If you’re interested in the field of marketing or sales, an internship in the digital and content marketing is extremely useful. Even if you want to become an entrepreneur, you need the basic knowledge of web design, Google Analytics, PPC and Facebook advertising. So pick a smaller agency with little hierarchy where you can try it all out.

Aside from the marketing field and choice of company, here are my five tips to all the interns to help you get the maximum out of this experience.

1. Never say no to any task

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You have probably done your fair share of boring jobs and expect your internship to nurture your creativity and ambition more. But even the coolest agencies have those annoying little mind-numbing duties that are sometimes (hopefully not always) handed to an intern. Try not to refuse any of the irrelevant tasks even if you’re busy with something more exciting. It’s a great way to learn time management and show everybody that you are a good team player. Refusing to help someone out without a really good reason signals bad attitude.

Once the project manager asked me to enter hundreds of product codes to Excel that took me all day. After accepting the daunting task, we started to collaborate more often. And by the time he went on a summer vacation he trusted his accounts to me to take care of.  So, you never know which person will influence your career in the future, so don’t try to impress your boss only.

2.  Pick a niche

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My favourite career advice comes from a show called Mad Men, it goes: “Pick a job and then become the person who does it.” Yes, your internship is more about taking upon a variety of tasks to maximise the learning and to find your way. But if possible, seek out something that interests you the most, learn everything about it, and communicate your passion to other team members. It applies especially to bigger companies if you want to be noticed by doing something extraordinarily well (provided that your interest is still strongly related to your company’s field).

In Dreamgrow I ‘created’ myself a position that hardly exists in digital marketing agencies –  a copywriting job. From an early on, I told people that I’m passionate about writing and that my Estonian is virtually flawless. That made the team mates turn to me with different grammar-related questions and before I knew it, I was writing copy for websites and social media campaigns. We even added copywriting to our service portfolio, so I started to write content marketing articles for money. Therefore, your internship can become a perfect platform to practice your passion if you’re strategic about it.

3. Be proactive

Sometimes your co-workers are too busy to notice if you have enough tasks on your table. Don’t sit around and wait for someone to hand you more work, rather ask people if there’s anything you can help with. Being busy is always better than being bored.  And when there’s still nothing for you to do, use the time in the office to educate yourself in the relevant field. For example, instead of Facebook I hung out in Hubspot Academy that has many online digital marketing courses with an opportunity to get certified for free. That’s time well spent.

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You should also be proactive with asking feedback from your team. That’s the most crucial aspect for your self-development and improves your career opportunities tremendously. Feedback also shows a lot about the people giving the feedback, so you can a better picture of the values and culture of the organisation. That make it easier for you to choose whether that’s your dream workplace or not.

4. Ask for guidance

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Never be shy or discouraged to ask for help. The internship is all about learning. Even though you hopefully feel like a full member of the team, no one expects you to be perfect straight away. The more you learn, the more you can also create value to the company, so it benefits everybody equally.

What’s great about asking your team mates to help you out, is that most professional people are passionate about their field, and have a sheer happiness to share that knowledge with you. One day I asked our designer to show me some of the composition tips in design. He took an hour from his busy schedule and showed me all the basics with great enthusiasm. Even though it’s not a skill that I would need often, we became good friend. And my Instagram feed looks awesome!

5. Grow your network

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The most important thing about your internship is to get in touch with the people in your industry. Take part in different events, such as conferences, business incubators, seminars, lectures. Also, establish your social media presence, add your colleagues, partners and clients to LinkedIn. You’ve got your foot in the door, so start opening it one connection at the time.

What’s even a better way to grow your network, is to make actual friends. Have lunch with your workmates, go for Friday beers, take part in company’s events.  That’s where the true opportunities come from. For example, thanks to getting along so well with my colleagues in Dreamgrow, they have been recommending me to several clients as a freelance copywriter. And they surely haven’t done it for my ability to write, but because they know and trust me as a person.

To wrap it up, as with everything in life, your internship experience depends greatly on luck. You can do everything right, but you still need good colleagues, an understanding boss and a good organisational culture to enjoy your time there. Dreamgrow was that place for me. So good luck with your internship!

Liis Hainla, Placement Portfolio, EM12. Photo Credits, Visual Hunt

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