Every intern’s dreaded task is getting coffee. And it’s not just getting coffee – it’s remembering many precise orders that you somehow elude your memory. You’re left there thinking, “A college education leaving me in debt and all I have to say for it is that I can barely get coffee. Great.”
At Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy, it’s different.
I started my first day at Ceisler Media a little over a year ago as a summer intern. By my second day, I was given a complicated, time-sensitive task for one of our bigger clients. Though I received some guidance, I had no idea if I was doing the assignment correctly. I had to research municipal sites and track any information that seemed important.
I found myself second guessing my two-day-old intern judgment on whether the material I was using was relevant. I was afraid I’d mess up. But then, I realized that if my supervisors at Ceisler Media didn’t think I was up to the challenge, I wouldn’t have gotten the internship.
The assignment was unlike anything I had done before. I wasn’t familiar with the nuanced, bureaucratic language used to describe watershed levels and resources in given areas. I managed to complete the task correctly – and I felt great.
Even though I had previous college work experience, my internship at Ceisler Media pushed me to believe I would be ready to join the work force when I graduated college. Although my student-to-working-adult transition has been made easier by my getting hired by the firm where I interned, my summer internship experiences prepared me for what was to come. Through my internship, I learned to believe in my capabilities and shaped my skills to benefit myself and others.
Looking back, there are a few tips that stick out that made my internship helpful and memorable:
Make sure you get a chance to talk to different people in the office, not just the associates you’re most comfortable with. The cliché that goes, “You have to get out of your comfort zone,” certainly applies to professional development. I now find myself reaching out to associates I wouldn’t normally turn to for practical advice. It’s the best guidance I’ve received. I recently turned to a senior associate with whom I had not worked previously for help on writing media advisories. I wanted to expose myself to different writing styles and asked for the chance to write a first draft. Though my draft was not media ready, I expanded my skills through a learning experience.
Figure out what you’re passionate about and try to work that into your internship. One of the impressive aspects about Ceisler Media is its wide range of clients. In my first week, I was told to research all of our clients and identify the ones that seemed most interesting. Because of that, I was able to work with clients that I felt fervent about, allowing my internship to help me develop more of my own professional goals. You won’t always be told to do that research, but do it anyway.
Stay on top of the news and current events in the city where you’re working and the field in which your internship is based. Staying up to date not only allows you to feel included in lunch-time conversations, it also demonstrates that the internship means more to you than just another items on the resume.
Take advantage of hands-on client opportunities and ask to be involved. Getting in on calls, meetings and site visits are great ways to better develop your understanding of client relationships and the methodology of work to be done.
I’m now sitting on the other side of this advice as a full-time employee at Ceisler Media. Looking back a year ago, I can thank my co-workers and supervisors for the skills and growth that put me here now. I still find myself wondering if my newly college-grad judgment is correct when it comes to the task at hand. When in doubt, I remind myself of my own advice, and I realize that I’ll be just fine.
Julia Shreiber is an Associate in Ceisler Media's Philadelphia office.