Firstly, congratulations! After searching for jobs, updating your resume and cover letter, countless interviews, and experiencing several existential crises, you’ve accepted an intern position! So, you got the job, now what?
Hats off to you for pursuing an internship that will begin to build your career! We all know that juggling school, work, life, (maybe some sleep?) and now an internship is a lot to handle. Not to mention that walking into your first professional position in your field can be incredibly daunting. You aren’t sure what to expect. Do you know enough? Is agency life as cutthroat as TV makes it look? Was an internship the right decision??!
Krush’s intern class of Spring 2019 sat down and put together an intern survival guide, just for you. Our interns wanted to offer their insights and advice, as well as the reassurance that everything is going to be okay!
Charles Forquer, Graphic Design Intern
“As an intern, I put together a guide to navigate you through the process. Don’t worry, it will all be okay (Well, I can’t guarantee anything, but it might be!).
Explain Why! Think Design
Please learn how to explain your designs or concepts other than, “Oh dude, it just looks cool bro.” One of the most recurring questions I’ve received as a designer are: “Why?” “Why did you put the circle there?” “Why is there a line there?” With every question, you must be ready to reply with a coherent response.
It’s easy to make something look aesthetically pleasing with the endless tools the internet provides, but design must have a higher purpose than looking cute. If the client wants something to look cool for the sake of looking cool, this must also be explained. Why is it cool? If you want to be valued as an intern or a future employee, this skill is a must. Think design.
Be Resilient! Think Tough
When I started out as a designer, I thought everything I made was cool. At the time that naivety allowed me to develop my skills further, but as soon as I encountered criticism, I countered vehemently. “What do you mean make the text larger?”
Rather than taking a step back and considering the critique, I became offended, slightly self-conscious and then deeply saddened. I couldn’t commit to what I set out to deliver – perfection. After numerous trials, I learned that this is something all designers face and is part of growth. You rarely get to see the gruesome details that went into your favorite logos or branding campaigns. Why would you? Projects take refinement, and the sooner you accept that the sooner you’ll be able to take criticism. Do not get offended or saddened that your Creative Director or co-worker weren’t into the direction you took it to, whether it was the “drippy” text effects or the Comic Sans you used for the logotype (actually, you should have known better). Stay tough and constructive with it. You’re all in this together! You want the client to like it, and with some resilience, it will be alright.
Be Nice! This Is Supposed To Be Fun!
Out of all these concepts this should go without saying, but in the creative industry it’s hard to keep cool when everyone is passionate about what they are bringing to the table. We all have egos when it comes to design because it is an extension of ourselves. It’s also great to stay level-headed and be decent to people. I’m a firm believer of Karma and that being generally nice to people can help you in the long run (you should’ve tipped that waiter). Leave your internship with a good impression – whether you fulfilled their technical expectations or not is a different story. This is not only for your benefit, but theirs as well. Remember, they took you on for a reason and invested in you, so make it count! Be nice.”
Julia Weaver, Graphic Design Intern
“Everyone needs to take an internship. I was forced to take an internship for my degree, and I was not too excited about that. I always dreamed about self-employment or designing for a church. I used to think taking an internship at a design firm was a waste of time. After a while I found Krush! After being an intern for a short time, here are a couple things I have taken away from it.
Not Knowing Until You Try It
Before my internship, I had said multiple times that I did not want to work in a design firm. Some of those reasonings being I didn’t want to work on projects that I did not believe in or have passion for. I wanted to personally help people and I thought the only way to do that is by being self-employed. Through my internship I have come to love working in a small design firm. They work with non-profits more than I thought they would. I experienced working with clients first hand and saw how I was helping them.
An internship gives you an option to try something with no commitment to stay long term. You are also able to take internship after internship until you find want you like, what environment you thrive in.
A Safe Place to Learn and Fail
Getting the job that you really want, right after college can be intense because you do not want to mess up. When you are an intern, the company knows that you are still learning. People are not afraid to tell you how you can do better and how to improve your work. You are not expected to be perfect and to be all-knowing.
When you are corrected in an internship, you should of course do your best to correct what you messed up on. Maybe even make sure to do it right the next time, and you get that additional chance if you need it. In my internship I was able to learn different ways of doing things that I was not taught in school.
You Get to Answer a Big Question
Do I really want this as my career? Although I have been in school for the past four years and studying graphic design, being in the real world and doing real work is a whole another thing. As an intern you are working with real clients and your work matters. At times your internship can push you to the limit, but that’s when you realize if this is what you want to do long term.
Even if an internship opens your eyes and shows you that your future profession is not exactly what you thought it was, it doesn’t mean you can’t come to love it. But it could also make you realize that it’s not what you want to do. That is the lesson you surely want to learn, before you get stuck in the next step which is a real job. Expectations are higher, and risks are greater.”
Stepan Nasada, Digital Marketing Intern
“At first, a career in communications and marketing seemed vague. During my time in high school, and after some years in college, I did not get exposed to the concept as much as I wish I had been. Even taking introductory communications classes was not enough to clarify what this field of work consists of. Because of this hesitation, I felt anxious to get real life experience, and that is when starting this internship came into play and provided me with more direction.
Seize the Opportunity
After only being at Krush for a few weeks, I have already acquired a variety of techniques and explored what skills I must improve. For example, I have never even heard of such thing as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) until I was interviewed by the agency. It just is not something that’s part of standard academic curriculum yet. However, having read some provided materials and worked with the quirks of the process, now I not only know what SEO is, but I also understand its strategic significance to agencies, corporations and clients.
Conquer the Vantage Point
As in hiking, for example, so in the field of work you need to gain altitude to see more. With each step in the career ladder that you climb you will understand more and see further. Some things may confuse you along the way, but that’s when you realize you must keep going. And at each new vantage point you conquer there is a breath of fresh air, and hopefully a sigh of relief. That’s where I believe internships come in handy.
To drive my point home about establishing yourself, another aspect of internships I have found very important is the opportunity to add to your portfolio. Classes may provide you with some guidelines and mock projects to work and create for; however, internships will give you real life scenarios to work with. Not only that, but in my case, I also get to work with certain programs and online services that I would typically not have access to on my own. This only adds to my experience, so by the end of the internship I will have unique experience.
Now I can look at the industry from a newer perspective. This experience and the time I spend here gives me confidence in myself and my future. I know I’m way better off getting experience in the field rather than only writing for classes and having an unrelated part-time job during college.”
Emily Kaissling, Social Media and Content Intern
“Life as an intern at a full-service advertising agency is like living inside a brain that never shuts off. Thoughts are bubbling around constantly. Sometimes they stick and sometimes they don’t. A million words and colors float around as they are envisioned with every new task. While the constant flow of ideas swirl, being an intern means you get to be in the middle of it all.
Internship life has really opened my eyes to the creative process. Problem solving is a must and people skills are essential. As an intern I get to be a part of exciting projects and tasks while also feeling no shame in asking questions. I don’t know how everything works and I don’t always understand all the terms, but what I’ve found is that this is a perfect place to learn.
No one is condescending when I ask questions and others are eager to help me learn. I am given new tasks to try that push me to be creative and think outside the box. I am trusted to contribute and produce content. Agency internships are the perfect place to learn because all the brain sections work together to exchange information and educate each other.
Here are the top things I have learned being an intern:
- Advertising agencies don’t have to have a cut-throat, cold culture that so many movies portray
- No idea is too weird/small/abstract to share, even coming from the intern
- Others want to help you and will not expect you to already know everything
- Internships are designed to help shape you and prepare you for the next step in your career. Making sure you’re doing the tasks that help you grow and learn is essential! If you don’t feel like you’re being challenged enough then be proactive and ask for more.
Ultimately, getting an internship is the best experience you can have before you enter the full-time workforce. It gives you a place to learn and grow so that when you do make the transition into a full-fledged career, you are as prepared as can be. At that stage the flow of information is stronger, and the safety net is thinner.”
Mindy Stafford, Account Service Intern
“I went two years after graduating college before exploring the idea of working in the advertising agency life. Ad agencies are supposed to be intense, stressful, and overtime hours of hard endless work, right? After soaking up all the perspectives of what it’s like to work in an ad agency I was terrified. Scared of failing, not being good enough, or able to keep up and just simply not wanting to work my life away. But Krush has been different. The Krush team thrives on each other’s successes. They help encourage you through the stressful situations and teach you how to handle the intensity with respect and strength. That is what makes my internship at Krush so remarkable.
What If I Get Thrown In The Deep End?
The key to being a successful intern at an ad agency is learning quickly. Being thrown into the deep end started off as a joke that was occasionally thrown around my first week at the office. I quickly realized it was the reality of this internship. You don’t have time to waste, and neither do your coworkers. You don’t get assigned to someone that will hold your hand every step of the way. You are expected to dive into the deep end voluntarily. Whether you know how to or not, you make yourself swim. Luckily you have plenty of instructors who constantly encourage you along the way to help you succeed and thrive. Personally, I came into the internship with expectations of what I hoped to get out of it, but I will probably leave with more than I expected.
What Difference Does The Agency Structure Make?
The most important and special part of Krush’s close-knit structure to me is the opportunity of exploring all the departments and learn how they work together to form one agency. I have benefitted from understanding what every employee contributes to the team. I now understand the tedious nature of how ad agencies work and that every person has their own two cents to throw into the fountain.
What’s My Main Takeaway From Agency Work?
Good communication is so important in an agency. You must maintain healthy relationships with your coworkers and clients. This helps to build a respectable work environment and ensure a good flow of information. As an Account Service intern the most important task I work on every day is communicate with every person I come into contact with throughout each day. I value the relationships I have built in and around the Krush team.
I had a small idea of what ad agency life was like. At least I thought I had. Luckily, my ideas and expectations have changed for the best. Interning with a team that pushed me to do my best every day and succeed has given me valuable insight into how I want to continue my career in an advertising agency.”
Are you feeling any calmer? All interns that came before you have survived and thrived in their internships at Krush. If you’re proactive, open-minded, and dedicated to learning you’ll triumph here at Krush too! If you’re feeling interested in applying to a Krush internship, check out our currently available internships here. If you want to meet our team click here, or check out our work!
Krush Digital is a full-service advertising agency in Oklahoma City. We specialize in brand development, graphic design, media planning, performance tracking, print services, SEO, social media, video services, as well as website design and development. Our focus is to grow your brand and your bottom line–we are your strategic marketing partner! Check out our portfolio of work and contact Krush today!