Insight August 5, 2016

5 Tips from an Ad Agency Intern


Going into this internship, I really had no idea what to expect. As a rising sophomore, and what most would call “too young” or “not ready” for an internship, I was very excited to spend my summer at inferno.

inferno gifted me with a great experience that I can guarantee I would not have received anywhere else. Working in both the public relations and account service departments, I was given morsels to taste from the numerous aspects of an agency. I learned what a true deadline meant and how to unabashedly ask for help. Granted, I was nervous to start this work, for fear of doing it wrong, or not hitting the right angle. But, the community and environment I was provided with allowed me to grow and learn and make mistakes, and turn those mistakes into good work (and also to learn what page breaks actually were).

If you asked me what the “climax” of my experience here would be, I would say standing on The Five Spot’s stage, after our Mid-Year Agency Day listening to “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps. As cheesy as this sounds, it was at that moment I realized how much of a family inferno truly is. It is a lot easier to come in to a job knowing that I can have fulfilling conversations with genuinely nice people who care about me and my own development.

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If I have any advice to give to someone looking to intern at an agency, or really anywhere, this is what inferno taught me:

  1. Love the culture. If you cannot stand to be around the people you are working with, or do not like how the place feels, why would you want to be there? I will miss Fast Food Fridays here, even though they allowed me to spoil my dinner on occasion.
  1. If you are afraid to ask questions, learn to not be. This experience has forced me to not be afraid to send an email or walk over to a desk to ask for help or clarification. The show must go on, and a project cannot wait because I didn’t want to seem like I did not know something.
  1. Along with not being afraid to ask for help, do not be afraid to ask TO help. I would have missed out on some great projects or experiences had I not said “Hey, that sounds cool, do you mind if I sit in on that kickoff meeting?”
  1. A common misconception is that interning is for networking purposes only. I have learned so many things, from professionalism to writing tips, to simply the basics of how an agency runs, all of which I would not have learned had I not taken this internship. Have I met people who I know I could rely on to help me in the future? Absolutely. But it is not solely about that. Use this time to soak up as much knowledge as you can, whether that be experiential, or talking with a seasoned employee.
  1. Lastly, I would say do not feel too intimidated, but stay on your toes. Do not let a fear of inadequacy in your ability or knowledge to perform at a professional level hinder you from saying yes to a task.

Thanks to inferno for taking me in and giving me a chance to show myself, grow in myself, and have a taste of what I may want to do with my life!

By: Matthew Meyers