During my last year in college, I accepted an opportunity to work in web production at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) in New York City. I couldn’t decide what was more exciting: living and working in the Big Apple or meeting Ms. Stewart!
The Martha experience
After I was hired for the summer, at least fifty of us interns got the chance to have a meet and greet with our designated departments, learn the history of MSLO, and meet Martha. I felt nervous because I wanted to make a good impression and do my best in my assignments (who wouldn’t)? Everyone got a chance to see what a down-to-earth person she was. During one company meeting, she even had beverages made for us from fruits and veggies grown from her own garden. I still remember sipping that refreshing tropical cooler toward the end of the day. That was just one of the highlights of my time with the company.
Majoring in journalism, I was unsure of what skills I could bring to the product development and production department. However, the web producers I worked with were amazing and made me feel like I was part of the team. I learned new skills and software and took part in multiple projects, including participating in a marketing presentation.
As with any position, there were challenges. I had difficulty completing some tasks. At times, this resulted in feelings of inadequacy. After some words of encouragement and a handful of M&M’s, my coworker reminded me I had seven other people I could reach out to by my desk. Constant communication with the staff helped me to progress.
Seize the opportunity
Here are some tips I learned to make any internship valuable:
- Take notes on every new task and skill you learn. Later on in your career, you may be assigned a task from your interning days. Your notes could be your refresher.
- Utilize every resource extended to you. Whether you are watching intently, asking for help from a colleague, or Googling, there are many resources at your disposal. It doesn’t hurt to ask who, what, when, where, why, or how.
- Document accomplishments and other happy times. Not only would you be able to sauce up your resume, you can see how you have progressed on your journey to being the awesome intern that you are.
- Take it for what it is. The overall goal of the internship is to gain experience in your desired field, learn new skills, and make connections. The value isn’t whether you make money or not (although earning a little cash is a nice bonus)! The value is in the knowledge and progress you make as you prepare for the workforce.
Although it was an unpaid internship, I received a stipend for food and travel as payment. Sure it was a small amount, but I made it work. The work experience itself gave me a chance to learn another facet in digital media, such as HTML encoding, and I also received resources to help me practice my learned skills. For information about landing your own internship, check out internships.com.
By Regina Rivers Copyright 2015 brass Media, Inc.