It’s April, and the internship frenzy is at its peak. Students here at Syracuse and at schools all across the country are frantically writing cover letters and sending out resumes in pursuit of summer employment.
With so much competition from countless ambitious collegians, it’s difficult for students to stand out from their peers in the internship search. The communications industry is an especially competitive field, with thousands of students vying for coveted spots at top agencies. Taking a note from W2O Group’s cutting-edge perspective on communications, it’s important that young professionals have a firm understanding of the latest concepts and practices being used in their chosen industry. Here are few skills and habits of highly effective internship candidates:
The best candidates have specific passions and direction, but are also curious and willing to expand their skill sets. For instance, aspiring PR and advertising professionals should not only be creative and strong writers, but also analytical thinkers who understand the importance of utilizing data and quantitative insights to inform strategic decisions. The ability to meld creative insight with statistics and data is invaluable. Communications students should consider supplementing their major courses with studies in statistics, marketing, finance, and other quantitative-based subjects. “I hate math” is no longer an acceptable excuse to go into PR or related fields. As every W2O Group employee knows, the industry is increasingly built upon a foundation of data-driven insights, and strong writing skills can only get you so far.
W2O Group’s motto is “Go. Ahead.” This advice applies not only within W2O offices, but also to any interns eager to climb the corporate ladder. Interns should not expect to be given specific and detailed directions with every assignment. To stand out, think outside the box. Do your own research, ask questions, and exceed expectations. Seemingly vague project guidelines can be viewed as an opportunity to shine and show off your creative ability. In the real world, good things don’t come to those who wait—they come to those with ambition, focus, and dedication.
As an intern or entry-level employee, you’re not expected to know it all. No matter how intelligent or prepared you are, there is often a learning curve involved when beginning any new job. When I spoke with young W2O employees at the Austin offices during the Digital Brunch at SXSW, many stressed that they gained a large portion of their business acumen by asking questions on the job and contributing to discussion at meetings. Despite initial missteps or time management issues, they all soon developed confidence in their work and earned the trust of colleagues and managers. As part of the Center for Social Commerce Ambassador program, Nick and I will each be paired be a mentor during our W2O internships this summer. I think that finding a trusted mentor can be a crucial aspect in succeeding as a young professional. A mentor can help you navigate the ins and outs of the industry and guide you on the right path as you progress in your career. I am definitely looking forward to finding my mentor and I encourage my friends and peers in any industry to do the same.
Do you have any other tips for prospective interns? Comment here or tweet me: @LaurynBotterman.
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