I was once one of you. Really! Back in 2002, I was an intern on behalf of Laws, Hall, and Associates at Miami University, working on a campaign pitch with Walkers Crisps in London, England. We were divided into three teams, and given a brief to “come up with a great concept for the Walkers & Comic Relief event.”
Over the next six weeks, we were thrown into the world of advertising, working day and night on a campaign leading up to the “big pitch” to the Walkers execs. On the day of our presentation, I watched proudly as our presenters knocked our pitch out of the park, and promptly turned their bums to the judges and proceeded to drop trou. They laughed - hard - and that’s when I knew our pitch – to ‘Blow Off’ poverty – did fantastically well, launching my future career.
12 years later, I am watching each of you experience the thrill of knowing when you have done something that you know will alter the path of your life. I fully believe not all of you knew what you were getting yourselves into when joining eZanga. And, yet, I think most of you will miss us once you’re gone.
But I am going to let you in on a secret – we’re going to miss you, too. I know, let the sappiness roll, but really, we will. Not because you baked us cookies, or got us coffee (not that we’re complaining), but because we think that each of you have walked away with skills and knowledge that will help make you a tremendous asset in your first job.
Hopefully, you’ve reflected on what you learned here at eZanga. But in case you haven’t, here are my observations and nuggets of wisdom to take with you, wherever you may go after this.
1. Be a Sponge: Soak up The Knowledge.Your mentors have taught you a thing or two about online advertising, social media marketing, content writing, and some tools to make all three easier. Now, you may not have liked everything about the work or internship you completed, and that’s expected. Leave no doubt, though, that they’ve shown you tools that can, and will, carry over into any job function. Online advertising is here to stay, and an encompassing portfolio on how to use it will set you apart from your peers.
2. Your Experience Is What You Make of It
Were you here to simply collect credit hours? If so, I have failed you. Internships are all about learning real-life applicable skills you can take with you into your future career. Sure, I want you to complete some assignments to aid with our daily operations, but what are you doing to go above and beyond? Are you asking questions? Shadowing someone in another department? Initiating ideas that go beyond your internship responsibilities?
If you answered any of these with a ‘no,’ you took this internship all wrong. Think about this as you embrace future internships and jobs. Only you can change the experience you have.
3. When You’re Here, and When You Leave Here, You’re FamilyConsider this one perk to interning at a small business. You have a small circle of folks who have your success in mind, and want to see you succeed long after you go. Remember this, and nurture this relationship.
4. You’ve Heard Content is King. Well, so is CommunicationNever turn down an opportunity to gain a new connection. Network. Cultivate. Foster. Engage. Repeat. Content writing, video editing, interviewing, and day-to-day interactions all achieve this. Don’t forget as you move on to always be communicating, cultivating, and fostering relationships. You never know when you might be able to leverage the relationship for your personal or professional development.
5. Give Me a Reason to Hire You
At the end of any good internship, you'll be given a review of your work. You might have loved what you have done, and want to stay with us forever, but if I haven't seen this, it makes it hard for me to want to hire you.
Show me - better yet, communicate - consistently, why I should hire you. It’s no secret that eZanga hires some interns to become full-time employees. But don’t feel bad if you're not one of them. There are limited slots available, and over the course of the year, we’ll see 16-20 interns. That’s enough to replace all of us and well, we like you and all, but we also like our jobs too.
I urge you to reflect on your internship and discover if you got everything from this experience that you possibly could. Did you learn new programs, build a portfolio, and create compelling pieces? Great! But even better – Did you learn something new? Did you test your limits?
I did. I helped create a campaign based around flatulence – nah, farting – and guess what? It worked. I know I gave Walkers a reason to hire me, and in essence, they did. My first real job out of school was with Frito-Lay, the U.S. counterpart to Walkers. I pressed the envelope, worked my tail off, and pushed myself harder than I ever have before. And my reward? My team won, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
I hope you can say you have had a life changing, proudest moment, too, when you leave eZanga. And if not, it’s okay, so long as the lessons you have learned you are taking with you.
Be proud to challenge yourself and be the change you want to see in the world. Best of luck with your future endeavors, and remember, you’re family. Don’t be ‘that’ family member. Drop us a line, or even a tweet, every once in a while.