The advertising agency that selected you isn’t just looking for raw talent; they’re looking for professionalism, attitude, hustle and the ability to play well with others. This short list of tips from a few of this summer’s Moosylvania interns applies for copywriters, designers and account service and will make your hiring agency glad you came along.
1. You’re in the big leagues now
Skills might help you get your foot in the door, but making your advertising agency view you as a professional is imperative. As Luke Sullivan puts it in his book Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, “The whole chaos-is-good, whiskey-and-cigarettes, showing-up-late-for-work thing is fine for artists and rock stars. But advertising is only half art. It’s also half business.”
Get organized, be on time and do what you say you are going to do.
2. Pay attention
While you are watching the squirrel outside the window that should have just made the Top Ten plays on SportsCenter for clearing a 20-foot gap and pulling himself up with one foot, you just missed what the creative director said about your deadline.
Not only should you be trying to soak up as much information as you can during an internship, but giving someone your full attention is an important sign of respect.
3. Don’t hold back
You might find yourself sitting there, staring at a piece of paper or a blank screen for minutes on end, shooting down headlines or design ideas in your head because you don’t think they are good enough. You must empty the ideas in your head onto paper—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Believe it or not, some of the ideas you think are bad but disgustedly jot down will turn out to be golden.
Just keep writing or sketching, you’ll get closer and closer to something great. Junior Writer Jake Houska says, “You’re going to have bad ideas and make mistakes and it’s going to sting. But you know what’s worse than having a bad idea? Thinking it was a good one.”
4. Stay inspired and keep in touch with trends
Whether you are a designer, writer or account person, you need to stay up-to-date with the advertising trends and find your own way to stay inspired by fresh content.
Even account people should know the industry trends and watch what’s coming out of other advertising agencies. Keep up with the times by reading ad news articles and blogs from sites like Mashable, Ad Age, AdWeek, etc.
5. Exceed expectations
There is no better way to earn brownie points within an agency than to take the initiative to do more than what was asked of you. If you’re asked to make two comps, come back with four. If you’re asked to come up with a list of 50 headlines, do 100. If you’re asked to bring someone a bag of M&M’s, rent a U-Haul and head to Sam’s Club.
6. Attitude is everything
When you’re first starting out, you just don’t know everything. If you act like you do, you will probably offend someone. Not to mention you can’t learn anything if you think you know everything already.
Think positively. By visualizing success and telling yourself that a good idea will surely come to you, you are inviting it to enter your mind. Don’t worry; you don’t have to be some kind of Zen master to practice a little focused positivity. Trust me, it works.
7. Enjoy yourself
At the end of the day, happiness should be your main goal. Never take yourself or your work too seriously. Hang out with coworkers outside of the office, play on the company softball team or break at lunch to play a sweaty, grunt-filled match of Ping-Pong.
The internship experience is the foundation of your advertising career, so work smart, get to know the people around you and have fun while you’re still just an intern.
Do you have any tips or questions for interns? Ask away in the comments below.
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