A Crash-Course in Agency Life: 10 Tips and Lessons from W2O Interns

Written by Cayla Dorsey, Riva Goldberg & Talia Simmons
Published on August 7, 2019

Our internship at W2O’s expanding NYC office has been a whirlwind experience. Since the moment we walked in, we have been welcomed with open arms and have quickly become acquainted with the office, the team, the momentum of working in an innovative environment and of course, our fellow interns.

As each day flies by, our understanding of what life is truly like at W2O continues to grow. We conducted a poll among our fellow interns to ask their opinions on the most important aspects of agency life. Here are the top ten lessons we have learned throughout the past several weeks:

1. Raise your hand to get involved in a variety of opportunities

The goal of an internship is to gain experience in the form of hands-on learning, the kind that simply can’t be replicated in a classroom. However, this can mean something a little different to everyone. Whether it’s diving into account management, participating in creative brainstorms or developing content, there are a multitude of opportunities to get involved. Whatever it is you want to hone in on, be sure to make it known!

2. Asking for help is encouraged

When starting at any new workplace, there are details that employees just know— ranging from how to format documents to a client’s preferred subject line. If you don’t know, just ask! Every person in the office was new at some point too, and most folks are more than willing to help you learn. Make sure to take notes so next time you can take the lead independently.

3. Time management is crucial

Like any agency, each day at W2O is filled with urgent client requests, prioritizing deliverables and keeping track of all the loose ends in between. We’ve all heard it before, and it rings true— time management is crucial. Everyone has different strategies for managing their time, but however you do it, it is important to keep track of your tasks and deadlines. Regularly updating your calendar and blocking off time to complete projects is a great way to track your progress.

4. Maintain open lines of communication

In the communications field, this lesson may seem like a given, but open lines of communication are vital. It is important to communicate frequently with your managers, your fellow interns, your team members and the many other people you will encounter in the office. If you want to work on something new, or connect with an expert on a different team, your supervisor or manager is the perfect person to talk to. They want you to be open with them because they want you to succeed!

5. Make sure you understand the task

Attention to detail is vital at any internship, especially in the world of client services. When given instructions, be sure to read them carefully and thoroughly so you understand the task. If you are unclear about objectives or how to approach, clarify with your manager or team lead.

6. Producing multiple drafts creates the best work

When you think you are finished with a project, that’s actually just your first draft! It is important to carefully proofread your work. Don’t be discouraged if you receive a lot of edits at first. Bottom line, everyone is working as a team to produce the best work possible. Insider tip: use tracked changes for all Word document edits to show where changes have been made. And make sure to factor reviews into your timelines.

7. Get a head-start by sharpening your media monitoring skills

The first skill you need to master for any job in the PR field is media monitoring: closely watching for broadcast, online, print or social media coverage surrounding your client, a competitor or a specific announcement and tracking that media for your client. Familiarize yourself with programs such as Critical Mention and MuckRack, because knowing the basics of these platforms will help you monitor more efficiently, and ultimately get smarter about your clients, their competitors and the industry.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for a coffee date

W2O highly encourages interns and new hires to reach out to employees across the company to chat over the phone or grab a coffee. These invaluable networking opportunities can deepen your understanding of what others do in different areas of the company. A quick meeting over lunch or coffee can help you build relationships and get candid insights from more experienced colleagues.

9. Snatching a snack at 3pm can really boost your mood!

Sometimes we all need a little push to get us through a long day. A lot of brain power is used to keep up with the fast-paced workday. To help us stay on our “A-game” all day long, W2O provides a daily supply of snacks, ranging from gummy bears (our personal favorite) to veggie straws. Some folks in the office even enjoy a bag of frozen cool ranch Doritos (try it before you knock it!). It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to keep a clear and fresh mind. Luckily, the NY office has a prime location adjacent to South Street Seaport, making for a perfect afternoon walk.

10. Get curious

W2O’s weekly Speaker Series events provide an opportunity for interns to hear perspective from leaders and ask questions about their professional experience. W2O fosters a culture of curiosity, where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas. Connecting with senior leaders and coming ready to ask questions is an excellent way to learn about the industry and get inspired.