Why Your Internship Is A Second Interview
By Khadejah Stegall
Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.
When you first land your internship, you are excited and thrilled and you think you are one step closer to your dreams. In reality, you have just completed the prerequisite to the start of your career. Know that from your first day, to your last day as an intern, you are being evaluated and it’s just another interview process. Landing the internship is one step and performing well at your internship is another step. I’m going to share the advice I learned as a Viacom intern working for BET.
Network, network, network
If I had a dollar for every employee that gave me advice as an intern, I would be living rent free! Networking in the entertainment industry is vital. As I asked about everyone’s career journey, they told me that every job they’ve ever gotten was because they knew someone and that “someone” knew they had a great work ethic. Networking can be challenging if you are a person who wants to make genuine relationships and not just getting to know someone for your next move. Schedule one-on-ones with staff members around your company. Ask for a hierarchy chart so you know who reports to whom. Get on everyone’s calendar and ask them about their journey and any advice they could give you as an intern. Get to know the receptionist, the editors, the tech guy, the CEO, and even the janitors. Be genuine, work hard and speak to others by their name. An enthusiastic intern who speaks to everyone goes a long way.
Never say no and use your resources, unless someone is asking for something crazy
My first mistake as an intern was when someone asked me to put label makers on a folder. I asked around to see if I could find any label makers and when I finally found one, there wasn’t any more ink left. Another staff member told me that we could make an order on Monday for more. I wrote a note and made temporary folders, but she pulled me to the side and told me to never say no and always get the job done. She explained to me that I should have went to a different department and asked if they had any. Always make sure you use ALL of your resources and by asking others for help, you are making connections and they get to know your face. I apologized and told her I would have it done for her and I went to a different department and found some label makers.
Always follow up
If someone gives you an assignment, always follow up with them and see how the project is going or if they need anything else from you. Be sure to always make yourself available to others. Most of the time, people may not come to you with work so take the initiative to ask if anyone in your department needs help and if they don’t, ask if you could shadow someone on what they’re doing. People are usually nicer to interns, so this is your opportunity to shadow everyone’s job.
If someone gives you an assignment, give it one hundred and ten percent!
Put your all into an assignment. For example, one of my responsibilities as an intern is to present industry news. We had Monday morning meetings where the whole department met and gave updates about what was going on in the world and inspiration for creativity. I could have just presented industry news on a piece of paper, but instead I created a website, included the BET brand and I had headers such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackGirlMagic, and other news that was relevant to the BET brand. If someone asks you to do something, unless you have questions about the assignment, don’t get back to them until the assignment is completed one hundred and ten percent. Now, you’ve earned their trust and they are going to trust that you can always get the job done.
If you don’t know, it doesn’t hurt to ask
Sometimes you may not know how to do something but it doesn’t hurt to seek clarity and ask questions. Someone asked me to create a shot list for them and I had never heard of it before. The first thing I did was Google it because Google has all of the answers. After coming up short, I asked an employee who works on shoots and he told me how to do a shot list. I asked what format they wanted it in and gave her exactly what she wanted. If I would have wasted time searching what a shot list was, that could have hurt my performance.
You are always being evaluated
When you think people aren’t watching, they are. Watch how you treat others, even in the elevators. Many executives look young so make sure you aren’t on a phone call being obnoxious. If you see someone engaging in gossip or negativity, go the other way. Sometimes people may say false information just to get you to talk negative. Fortunately, this didn’t happen at my internship, but always be aware.
Have fun and make the best out of your internship
Lastly, have fun! You may not learn what you planned at your internship but this is the time to grow your network and make connections. If you don’t get anything out of your internship, be sure to leave with a list of connections and a good name for yourself. Network with other interns, have fun, and slay every day.
Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com