Thursday, June 30, 2011

3 Success Secrets Every Web Intern Should Know

Hey Edsters!

So I’ve been at my internship four a couple weeks now, and I have yet to get yelled at, get coffee or get lost. What I did get, though, was a smile and a 50-page manual on my first day. That was my intern training.

There was no sitting down for an orientation of new Web programs. There really wasn’t even a conversation. My bosses seemed more apt to iChat instead of talk…while they sat right beside one another. I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere like that, so I took my boss up on her “don’t be afraid to ask questions” policy. Thank goodness I did.

After I broke my own awkward silence, my boss and the other Web interns jumped in to answer my myriad of questions. Yeah, I felt a little helpless and slow compared to the other interns who had started working weeks before me, and I continued to be hard on myself for not knowing everything immediately, but I had to rationalize when things just weren’t my fault. Like when my computer broke—twice. Or when the tech guy only loaded half the programs I needed to do my job. Or when HR forgot to put my paperwork through processing, so I had to convince security, every day, that I actually worked there.

But here I am, two weeks later, with an official badge, the Adobe suite and a very competent computer. I’ve learned everything pretty much, and my work environment seems much more relaxed.

It’s probably just me who’s more relaxed.

And that’s one of the most important things I’ve picked up so far—to stay relaxed. I was a little intimidated to move half way across the country to a city I’d only visited a few times before. But if you take your chances to ask questions without getting worked up or too nervous, you can learn everything you need to and more.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up so far, and how I learned them (from most practical to most fun). Hopefully they can be somewhat useful to you, too:

1. Showing interest = a job
One day last week, a previous intern came into the office, and we ended up going to lunch together. Between bites of sandwich and each other’s lives, I asked what she was doing now, freshly graduated with the same degree I am pursuing. I wasn’t surprised to hear “freelancing,” but I was surprised to know it was for the magazine I’m interning with. She’s a blogger for the men’s magazine, a position she got from simply showing an interest.

I guess our blog wasn't as good as it is now. The magazine hired a man to juice it up, and the girl I was eating with asked him what his plans were. While he explained it, she said she had a few suggestions of her own that seemed to impress him (and that she noticed were on the site now!). When her internship ended, she re-contacted him, and he “hired” her as a freelance writer.

The art of networking has been preached to me a million times, but now it’s real time. It could make or break my future, and that’s my goal for this week: To get better at it. I’ll have to e-mail this girl and ask for some of her tips. I’ll get back to you Edsters on that one!!

2. Illo = to cut an image out from its background on Photoshop
Thank goodness for Google. I’m all about asking for clarification when my boss’s instructions get lost in her head and I only hear half of them. But when she fires off words that I feel like is should know and just don’t, that’s when is my lifeline. I try to figure things out as much as I can on my own unless there is an obvious need for questions.

3. Magazines = free things (for the magazine)
One of my favorite projects is contacting companies for images or products we need for the magazine. It’s great to refine phone and e-mail skills, but it’s also just incredibly awesome to see the enormity of free things people will send us if we tell them we want to feature them in book or online! We have a whole cubicle dedicated to items that people have sent to us.

For now, it’s getting late, and I have work in the morning followed by a job interview so I can afford to still eat every day. It’s an expensive city, but I couldn’t be more excited to be here!

Have any questions? ASK ME! We can figure out all the answers and even network with each other!

See you next Thursday,
Web Intern

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