As a Communication major at Arcadia, we are required to complete at least one semester with an internship. I was lucky enough to secure a position with VMS Communications, a small public relations firm based in Houston. I was hired as an assistant and my general tasks were to work closely with the CEO and complete assignments that ranged from drafting press releases to creating excel contact sheets.
I had no previous experience in the field so having this job provided some much needed hands on learning. My goal of this post is to highlight the advice I wish someone had given to me before starting.
#3 Honing Organization Skills
(Example of where my Internship folder is located on my computer and how specific the subfolders are)
I’m not a particularly unorganized person, but as far as files and images go on my computer it can be a no man’s land. However, at any moment your boss can ask to reference a previous draft of an assignment you’ve worked on. It would be expected for you to have some record of it.
Learning how to save multiple copies of files and having a detailed organization system that is labeled and up to date on your devices is important. It is three years later, and I am still referencing the work I did when I was at my internship. This would not be as easily accessible if not for the system I created.
#2 Become Familiar with Excel (and other programs)
I rarely, if ever, have had to use Excel or Google Spreadsheet during my time as a student. So, when my first assignment was to create a celebrity contact list that had to be created in Excel, I was flustered. I spent days on a task that shouldn’t have taken longer than a few hours.
My advice: Ask your superior before starting what programs are commonly used with the job and use the time before starting or in between projects to familiarize yourself with it. It will save you a lot of time.
#1 Don’t Be Afraid to Be Honest
With your first internship or job there is usually an immense pressure to be perfect. But the company you work for knows they hired an intern and that you do not know everything. In my experience, it is better to ask for help and be honest about not being sure how to complete a project than messing up and having to explain it afterwards. A good boss or superior will use it as a teaching lesson and it’ll improve your skillset.
Overall, my experience as an assistant was one that I can look back fondly on. However, like with any job there are always ups and downs. If I knew these few tips going into the position it would have certainly eased some of those anxieties.