From immersing myself in a new company culture to setting future goals, my internship was very valuable personally and professionally. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to build skills and gain experience to put on my resume – and I wanted to give my future a stronger sense of direction. There’s so much pressure on millennials to pick the “right” career path; one they can enjoy that will also allow them to pay off student loans before they starve to death.
I had my initial misgivings about internships being unpaid busywork. Instead, I found that my experience has given me a boost of professional confidence and new hope for the future. My internship with Staff Smart, Inc. surpassed any and all expectations I had for a summer internship. This summer I was given every opportunity to learn new skills and hone others. Thanks to my internship experience, I now have a richer and more complete understanding of my fields of interest. Take advantage of the time you have at your internship. Start by understanding the important aspects of the company culture, and push yourself to go above and beyond to build new skills.
Five Ways to Assess The Culture at Your Internship
Understanding and immersing yourself in a new company culture can lend you invaluable insight. The experience I gained working in a new setting led to opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
- Small company – This allowed for more open communication with management and, as a result, a better understanding of the current needs of the company. This allowed us to better direct our marketing efforts. “Communication is key” might sound cliché, but it’s always relevant.
- Flat structure – This gave me the chance to work directly with team members from all levels of management. Interacting with people who all had different perspectives and talents encouraged me to fine-tune my communication skills.
- Fast growing – Given the small size and rapid growth, everyone was expected to be self-sufficient. I learned that deadlines shift as priorities change. This flexibility has already helped me with setting goals, meeting deadlines, and determining priorities in other aspects of my life.
- Corporate hours – This internship was also my first opportunity to work corporate hours. Adapting to the new schedule and professional environment wasn’t as simple as I expected, and it’s something I’m glad I got the chance to do this summer.
- Friendly Atmosphere – The small number of people in the office (office pets included!) gave it a “professionally homey” feel. Those I worked with brought out the talents they saw in me and fostered new skills so that I could take initiative and complete tasks that help us reach our collective goals.
Adding to Your Skillset
Over the course of this internship, I became particularly interested in content writing and marketing. I and encouraged to hone my skills, so I made this a part of my daily activities. Creative professions (such as blogging, art, writing, etc.) are some of my passions, so developing solid skills I could use to pursue those interests was a great feeling. I learned to utilize Hootsuite, WordPress, and Google Analytics, as a part of my internship, all of which help me market myself and my own work. I used these tools to create and distribute content for targeted audiences that read the Staff Smart blog and measured success by monitoring the site analytics. Using the analytics data, I researched and audited for SEO to see where marketing efforts could be improved. All of these are skills that I can now apply to my creative pursuits, and they’ve made all the difference.
Setting Future Goals
Now that I have more direction, some concrete experience, and valuable new skills to work with, I feel more prepared to face the future and go after my goals. I’ve taken on the challenge to publish a post on my WordPress blog at least once a week for the next year. Blogging will allow me to monitor the analytics and continue to use and grow my knowledge of SEO. I also better understand the value of networking, so I plan to continue attending meetups and building connections. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the team at Staff Smart, and my experience has helped pave the way for my future professional endeavors.
About the Contributor
Rhonda Dehaini | LinkedIn