To say I had the typical internship at Walk West would be a complete lie. You know, the internship where you’re fetching coffee orders, overwhelmed with mundane tasks like sorting files or, in some work environments, completely forgotten about. Instead, I was a part of a company where I was recognized for my contributions, had ownership over my projects with real responsibilities, felt like an integral part of the team and had a true opportunity to exemplify my value as their Digital Marketing intern.
What was the best part of the internship you ask?
Maybe it was the 90s-themed Nintendo 64 parties that got me or the Slack channels labeled “#donutpleasures” or the fact I’ve never seen such a collaborative, creative effort in an office like Walk West. But something incredible happened here and my time as the company’s intern has been an essential part of my professional growth.
The journey was never clear cut for me. I started my career off at Appalachian State when I received my degree in public relations, like many post graduates, not knowing where that would actually take me. A few years later, that degree has lead me to Asia to explore the culture of Thailand and the Philippines; a loan processor position at a mortgage company; a life-changing experience as the digital media specialist and outdoor educator at YMCA Camp Greenville; lots of serving tables in between dreams; Spain to dive head-first into their culture as an English teacher; and finally, here at Walk West. First as an intern and now as a full-time digital marketing specialist.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship
I feel fortunate to be surrounded by the group of contagiously talented, creative and hardworking folks at Walk West. The amount of inspiration, direction, and support I feel from working with the whole team is something I am forever grateful for. These past few months, I’ve learned a thing or two about SEO, strategic marketing research, content writing, digital strategy and an overall understanding of website design and development.
No matter what industry you’re in as an intern, here are a few key takeaways to get the most out of your internship and land that full-time position:
- Take Initiative
This one is a no-brainer. The more initiative you take, the more rewards you reap. Instead of waiting for someone to give you an opportunity to showcase your skills and prove yourself, create the opportunity. Create solutions for problems you see around the office, ask if anybody needs help and take leads on projects or create one. They will notice your go-getter attitude and know you are someone with the leadership skills, motivation and drive they want in a full-time employee.
- Stay Curious
Your curiosity will set you apart from everyone else. It’s that desire to dig a little deeper for the sake of wanting a little more. Ask questions, constantly learn new things and stay tenacious. Your learning doesn’t stop when you walk out those office doors. Stay on top of industry trends by going to relevant events and conferences, or doing some outside reading. Curiosity is a representation that you care about the work you’re doing and have a genuine interest in your company’s projects. Think about it. Most of your life’s most interesting moments happened from diving into the unknown.
Be a sponge. We learn more from listening than speaking. As an intern, you are in the best position in the company because you are surrounded by people smarter and more experienced than you. You are not expected to know everything right away. Listening demonstrates to your supervisor your willingness and humility to learn new skills. Learn from them and tap into their wealth of industry knowledge, insight and talent.
- Stay Hungry
You’re young, hungry and ready to work. Don’t let being the intern and the “underdog” scare you from your potential. After all, that’s why they hired you. When your employers see that hunger, they know you are willing to go above and beyond and work hard to achieve goals. At this point in your career, your work ethic is going to shine brighter than your talent and experience.
Most importantly, savor all of your good (and bad) internship moments. Note them, learn from them and never forget them. No matter what happens when those final days as an intern creep up, just know you gained hands-on work experience no classroom could ever teach you. Who knows, one day you might walk in as an intern and walk out with a full-time offer.
Do you have what it takes to be a Walk Westie? Visit our careers page to learn about the various internships we have available.