September 4, 2012 | By:

An Intern’s Checklist

Although I was just in my freshmen year in college, I knew I wanted to go ahead and start an internship at a marketing firm to start building that “one year of experience” requirement that is listed on nearly every job description. What did that experience need to consist of, realistically? I did some research and made a list of things I wanted out of my internship. I narrowed it down to this:

• Small to mid-sized firm
• Good reputation for customer service
• High-level experience and talent on staff
• An impressive company portfolio
• Opportunity for intern engagement
• Opportunity to build my network
• A level of exposure that will greatly increase my understanding of the industry

Ilfusion’s website boasted a large portfolio with video and graphics, client testimonials, staff bios, and a mass number of blogs about the industry. They struck me as a small agency that, because of the talent, was growing into an industry leader and cutting edge competitor. When I arrived for my interview at Ilfusion’s office in the chic West 7th district of Fort Worth, I was immediately captivated by their open-concept office. I knew that I would be able to learn about the firm’s entire process with everyone working so closely together. They seemed to be a good fit for my list, and I suppose I matched theirs …I started my internship with them just 2 weeks later.

In my time at Ilfusion, I didn’t just observe, I was a part of each segment of strategy in the social media department. I learned so much through the combination of tutorials and hands-on experience. I received patient and enthusiastic lessons from an expert in the area, be it public relations, writing, or graphic design. I was never given the impression that I was taking up anyone’s time, and in fact, I was thanked daily for my help with projects. That kind of atmosphere allowed me the confidence to be as inquisitive as necessary to receive the most gainful experience from my time there.

Most importantly, I learned the difference between understanding the ins-and-outs of social media and mastering the use of social media as a tool for marketing a business. Before I knew it, I was creating strategic Pinterest boards, interacting with the potential customers of my clients through Facebook, writing blogs, and developing comprehensive competitive analysis reports. The most exciting thing about being an intern in the social media department is that you are not the only one learning something new every day. There is always a new app, an update to a favorite tool, or a new report that has come out about how users react to different forms of content. Because of this, I often learned new things alongside my mentors. Needless to say, my opportunities for involvement in the process surpassed my every expectation.

And finally, a big check mark goes towards both building my network and a better understanding of the industry. My internship at Ilfusion exposed me to several outside activities that expanded my professional contacts, from public relations events to industry meet-and-greets. I’ve gained local advertising and marketing professionals in my LinkedIn network and followers on Twitter that will grow my understanding of the field and where it’s going.

The last five months have been invaluable to my education, portfolio, and resume. I don’t know that I could have chosen a better company to intern with, and I hope to return. My list is checked, crossed out, scribbled on, and tossed, but now I have so much more I want to learn. I’m prepared in knowing what electives will serve me best and what activities will push me further over the next three years. Ilfusion gave me an experience that will shape me into a fierce social media and public relations strategist, and I hope that one day soon that very title will be printed on my black and yellow business card.

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