The following post was authored by Chantam Duong during the 2015 LiveIntent Summer Internship Program.
College students live their lives like tightrope walkers, balancing their exams, naps, and social appearances on a daily basis. And as these “best days of your life” approach their end, the college triangle of grades, sleep, and social life quickly becomes a square with the additional worry of job and internship searches. Fortunately, the fourth corner of my college square was filled by an internship at LiveIntent.
At LiveIntent, I’ve learned that the key to standing out after you walk down the graduation aisle relies on how you handle three key phases of an internship:
1. What you do before you set foot in the office.
2. What you do while you are in the office.
3. What you do when looking back at the end of your 10 weeks.
As the summer powers through, I find myself reflecting on how my time here has taught me to optimize every second of each of these three phases and why I found LiveIntent to be an exceptional opportunity that has helped me take my first step into the real working world.
This is what I’ve learned…
1. Before you set foot in the office…. Know what you want, then do the research!
When you are nineteen years old, it can be hard to place a finger on exactly what you want for the rest of your life, but the games you play or the books you enjoy can provide a starting point. Before you start applying for any positions, write down what you are interested in: career goals, interests, industries, etc. Once you write it down, your ideas become tangible. This can help you figure out what YOU want to accomplish from your internship.
Once you have a concrete idea of what makes your ears perk, research the different angles, opportunities, and companies that deal with these interests. Make use of your school career advisors, online job databases, and professors – they are available to help you succeed. University specific job databases that may be found on your school website can also be a very valuable source. I used HireUTexas through the University of Texas at Austin and found it to be helpful because of the exclusive opportunities directed towards UT students.
Additionally, social media is a hot spot to search for internships. Look for social groups that are specific to your interests and location with the purpose of sharing new internship opportunities. I found many great opportunities through Facebook groups like “Austin Startup Jobs” or “Advertising within UT Austin”.
I also found tremendous results when reaching out to family, friends, and peers I interacted with everyday – the worst thing they can say is a “no”.
2. While you are in the office…. Be proactive in EVERYTHING you do!
You’ve updated your LinkedIn profile to “So and So Intern”, but the real work is in what you fill in under the description. The best way to get a jump-start as a newbie is to thoroughly understand your company. Pay attention during onboarding sessions, learn the company lingo, and reach out for help. I found writing down notes from all of the onboarding, meetings, and assignments to be very helpful as it kept me organized and gave me a reference to go back to when I was trying to learn the 30+ acronyms that LiveIntent uses.
One perk (of many!) at LiveIntent is that there are always good snacks in the break room. The other Austin intern and I were helping John Engler (VP Sales) with the tedious tasks of unloading and organizing our monthly shipment of Kind Bars and Coconut Water when he casually told us, “You know why I try to make sure our snack room looks good? It shows that someone cares – and I do care!”
Be proactive. You will hear that often when going through the hiring process, but it’s important to show that you care and want to learn in everything that you do, from completing the longest project of your life to unloading snacks. This will open up many opportunities for you in your personal and professional life.
Simply put, go the extra mile to get an extra mile.
3. When looking back at the end of your 10 weeks… Keep relationships and preserve what you accomplished!
Imagine you’ve just sprinted the fastest 800m of your life. The last thing you probably want to do is to keep going and take a cool down lap – but you do it anyway because you know it will help in the long run. This mentality carries over to the intern world. There are actions you should take once you have completed your days as a rookie in order to realize the full potential of your internship.
Make sure you leave with relationships you are willing to maintain. Ask your boss to write a recommendation for you in a letter or on your LinkedIn profile. A small recommendation may go a long way to companies and recruiters when you are applying for your next internship or job. As you move into the working world, anyone you meet on your way may be a helpful contact for the future.
And even though we college students think we can remember everything, over the course of your internship you will learn an incredible amount. Make sure to detail the skills you developed from your internship and write them down on your resume, a Word document, diary, you name it. On my LinkedIn profile, I have included a snapshot of some valuable skills I have learned at my time at LiveIntent. As I learn new talents, I can easily update them on my profile.
Out of all the breakfast tacos, amazing mentors, and throwback music in the office, one thing that has stood out to me since the beginning at LiveIntent was the phenomenal people and company culture. LiveIntent is made up of an incredible group of people who want to see you reach and succeed in your goals. By taking advantage of every opportunity of the three internship phases, and from the support of my coworkers, my step into the working world has been an unbelievably smooth, fun, and unique learning experience. I’m ready to keep sprinting.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to make you stand out when you walk down your graduation aisle, check out our Careers Page to learn about the internship opportunities at LiveIntent.
You’ll be amazed at what you can find when you take the right first step.