Flow Communications

Opportunities such as internships are a great way to step into the job market, meet people and learn more about the work you are interested in.

I am currently an intern at Flow Communications. Based on my experience as a young woman early on in her career, I’ve compiled eight tips on how to be a great intern. These are things I’ve learnt along the way.

1. Have goals in mind

It is important to be aware of what you want to achieve and set your goals from the get-go. As an intern, you are still discovering some of your capabilities, and having clear objectives when tapping into a new learning space will help you become organised and focused.

2. Be on time

Punctuality is one of the most important – and easiest – wins in business. Teach yourself to show up on time and meet task deadlines. Doing that will reflect positively on your work and prove to your line manager that you care about your job, and that you are reliable and committed. Plan your work carefully and organise your diary.

3. Be curious

Doing community development work by planting a tree for Mandela Day in honour of the green economy
Doing community development work by planting a tree for Mandela Day in honour of the green economy.
(Image: Ntokozo Khanyi)

Oftentimes when young people occupy spaces they’ve never been exposed to, it can be overwhelming. When you don’t know what to do or where to start working, ask questions. Curiosity fuels the hunger to learn. When you question things, it means you are eager to know. Spend time researching information when you don’t understand something and ask to shadow someone in the team to gain more hands-on experience and knowledge.

4. Practise professionalism

Being professional should be part of your work character development. Every organisation has its own identity and culture and it’s important that you understand the rules. Speak politely, act with respect and dress appropriately. Professionalism is a key contributor to excellence in the workplace and it is important as a junior to be aware of this and apply it effectively.

5. Take initiative

Challenge your bravery. For any task to happen, someone has to begin the work. Put yourself forward and offer to contribute to the team for anything work-related. The best way to learn is to offer your time, skills and knowledge. Remember that just because you are an intern, this does not diminish your capabilities. 

Taking initiative means that you are interested in the work and that you want to contribute and make a difference. You may also discover that doing well in basic tasks can lead to your manager giving you greater responsibilities in the team. A great example of this was when I accompanied some of our team members on a trip to Good Work Foundation, an education non-profit. This was a highlight for me as I helped take photos, observed interviews and met our client!

6. Display a positive attitude

Be enthusiastic about the work you are given. A great attitude reflects in a person’s ability to produce good work. Demonstrate a positive mindset so that you can enjoy what you do and apply yourself in a manner that shows you’re a good employee and a great team player.

Working at Flow as an intern and being eager to learn has fuelled my enthusiasm for expressing a positive attitude not only towards my work but towards my colleagues and manager, so that I have a lasting impact on the business.

I was attending a client event here. I was acting as one of the photographers and social media people covering the event
Helping with photography and social media at a client event. (Image: Ntokozo Khanyi)

7. Ask for feedback

Because you are learning new things, it is important to review all work that you do before sending it to your line manager or supervisor. Apply yourself by showing effort and try your best to deliver quality work so that you receive good feedback. Check yourself and take the time to reflect on your experiences during each phase of your internship. With every task, ask for input on the work you have provided so that you can improve where you can. This is to ensure that as you learn, you sharpen your skills along the way. This will also have a positive impact on your performance.

8. Network

Open yourself up to getting to know people in the organisation. Because you are new to the space, it may be a bit difficult to form relationships, but finding other interns to connect with is a great way to expose yourself. Attend networking events, catch up at lunchtime with colleagues if you can – or even offer to team up with other interns to learn about the company and how they execute their roles as interns in their respective departments.

I recall my first time attending a client networking event and how much it opened me up to learning more about my colleagues at Flow Communications. It helped me to understand what it takes to work together with other people who have the same vision of wanting to make campaigns successful.

comments powered by Disqus