I’m Megan Nehme—a PR intern based out of Antenna’s San Francisco office. I received a bachelor’s degree in Communications and PR from the University of San Francisco. I’m a Berkeley-born music fiend, trilingual and appreciator of a good cup of tea (cue Kermit the Frog sipping tea).
National Intern Day today inspired me to reflect on my time at Antenna over the past six months. When I joined the Ant team, I was fresh out of college with a degree but no experience in clean technology, healthcare or real estate. With the guidance of my colleagues, opportunities to put critical thinking skills to work, a strong determination to overachieve and endless learning moments, my internship experience has not only helped me build a foundation in these industries but also taught me valuable lessons that are applicable to any career path. Below I offer important takeaways from my time at Antenna for current and future interns in any industry as they enter the professional realm:
- One piece of feedback resonated with me: “We don’t hire adequate interns, we hire overachieving interns. How can you overachieve?” Internships are often a trial run, so it’s essential for you to flaunt your stuff in the time you have at the company. Take an extra 15 minutes to assure all your assignments are polished to perfection. Set aside time outside of work to expand your knowledge of the industry. Showcase your worth by contributing to (or initiating) company conversations and bring new ideas that would help your team succeed. Treat this as an audition for a permanent position, so “wow” your employer.
- Always be a step ahead. Your goal is to land the entry-level position above you. Show that you are capable of tackling tasks that are in that position. It shows your coworkers and managers that you’re willing to exceed the expectations of a typical intern and can operate at a higher level.
- Let your voice be heard. Don’t let this opportunity be a coffee-running or page-flipping gig (yes, that’s a thing). Demonstrate your value and show that you’re an involved team member. It’s as simple as asking a question or volunteering to take the first cut at that report to make yourself seen. Soon enough you’ll be leading team meetings, and coworkers will be relying on you for input. You want people to remember your name and your contributions to the project.
- Treat everything as a learning experience. If a permanent position isn’t your end game (say for a student), take this time as a “study abroad” experience in the professional world. Internalize all feedback you are given as it is the most critical tool for learning and can benefit you in numerous roles. Also, don’t take feedback as a sign that you’re not doing well. Constructive criticism can show that you’re doing well and your coworkers can see you excel further. Use feedback as blocks to build your professional persona.
- You are an equally important employee on your staff. Your teammates rely on you the same way you rely on them. Your time and effort are key components to the success of your client/customer. Every person is a valuable asset and needs one another to produce good quality work and create a cohesive working environment.
Internships are the place grow, learn and carve out your space, and I’m grateful for mine. Cheers to all the interns out there hustling!