A Year as a GSD&M Intern

This May marked my one-year anniversary as Communications Intern for the best advertising shop in Texas. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way – not the standard intern advice like to bring a notebook to every meeting, because if you’ve gotten a job that 300 other people apply for each semester you already know that. This is the good stuff: the picadillo in the intern advice taco, if you will.

You might even get a sweet nameplate.

Listen to everything – literally everything. Develop the habit of having your ears open at all times. Even when you’re working on something else, keep an ear out for what your boss is saying in case it’s something that will come in handy (like ‘hey, get ready for literally thousands of SXSW party RSVPs to land in your inbox’) so you can chime in or get ahead of the game. Listen up in the hallways to know what is going on around the agency so you can ask questions or offer to pitch in on a project you otherwise wouldn’t have known about—or in my case, hear something you can put on the Wall of Things You Can’t Tweet (I would share a picture but, you know). Pitching in leads me to my next bit of advice…

(pictured: Things You Can Tweet)

You can stay there, but don’t stay in the same place. If you’re going to spend multiple semesters at the same place, don’t do it because you think the agency is fun and exciting, or (worse) because you’re comfortable there. Make sure your time is well spent. I’ve helped out other interns, picking up knowledge of how the agency works along the way, and met with people from other departments (the strategists here are mind-numbingly cool and the project managers are total bad asses) – there is always so much more to learn. And while you’re busy learning everything and meeting everyone…

Develop a signature move. No, not a dance move you bring out at agency parties (unless you have no problem being That Intern). Hone a useful skill. In my case, one of my favorite parts of the job is planning and promoting internal events like our totally rad 80s Skate Party. If I can plan a fun event and incorporate puns, GIF gags and cultural references in an email invite and take something off my boss’s plate at the same time, I’m happy as a clam. And more importantly, my boss knows she can trust me to do this. That being said…

Live and die by feedback. Your supervisor isn’t trying to hurt your feelings when she says to cool it on the adjectives (or whatever your Achilles’ heel may be) – she’s trying to make you better. Incorporating constructive criticism is one of the most valuable skills you can have as an employee because it shows you listen, you learn, and you can focus on what’s important: the work, not getting a pat on the head and a gold star.

You can reverse Google image search with a picture you already have to find the source. Drag the picture into the Google image search bar from a different tab or from your desktop.

Insert hyperlinks in Microsoft Office products with Ctrl+K/Command+K. You’re welcome.

Now go dazzle ‘em.

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