This form is designed to help you prepare for your internship. It assumes you have already contacted the employer (you want to intern with) and they have accepted for an agreed period of time. It also assumes you have been advised who your supervisor (contact) will be during this time.
It’s important to keep an eye on your progress and refer back to your Onboarding Prompt Sheet. Don’t worry if your goals have shifted since you were onboarded, that’s all part of the process but now is the time to evaluate what you’ve done so far and how you might develop for the rest of the internship.
How are you feeling at this point in time? Has your mindset changed since you were first onboarded? What have you uncovered that you didn’t realise existed? Have you spent more time with the people you wanted to get to know more, who else could you reach out to? Have you learned more about the projects that excited you? Have you been developing the skills you were interested in working on?After reflecting on these questions, make a plan to progress where you see there is room for improvement. There is still plenty of time to hone your skills and try new things. It’s important at this stage that you’re keeping an eye on some of the things that you set out to do, learn and experience. Those things that you should have outlined in your Expectations Form. Now’s the time to be evaluating what you’ve done so far and how you might develop for the rest of the internship.Here are some recommendations while you’re ‘In the Flow’...
Keep talking to your mentor/buddy. Keep asking them questions. Keep getting feedback on the things you’re doing and of course keep talking to them if something feels wrong.
Don’t leave things too late if you’re unsure about a task, brief or a simple rule. Just ask and make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need to do.
Get In Some Meetings
If you haven’t already, try and get into a client or internal creative meeting. It’s a great way to see how the teams deal with their business and their clients.
The most important thing is to establish a good understanding of what the meeting is and what you’re supposed to be doing in there. If you’re in there to observe it’s probably not a good idea to start swinging opinions around. If you’ve been invited to contribute, try to make sure that you try to do so.
Client meetings are usually the most formal of occasions in an agency, so remember that you’re representing the company being in it. Follow the lead of the other team members, but be polite and respectful, and try to make any comments you want to make relevant and considered.
Hopefully, you’ve managed to get to work on something creative and hopefully at some point you’ll get the chance to present the work that you’ve done to the rest of the team or your mentors.
Every designer, creative director, agency etc has their own way of presenting and talking through work. It’s a practice that all designers have to adjust to with each new agency.
It’s a good idea to ask how your team or mentor would like you to go through your work to give you a starting point and more of an idea of what to do.
Most of the time this will be as simple as talking through the ideas or work one piece at a time, but even with this, it’s important to be clear and explain your thought process and what you have done carefully.
Be mindful of people in the room who may not have seen the brief, or know what you were asked to do and try to include them in the conversation as best as you can.
It can be nerve-racking taking a larger group of people through your work, especially if you’ve never done it before. Try to remember that practice makes perfect and that everyone has been in the same boat.
Ask your mentor/buddy or other team members to give you feedback after you’ve presented, that way you can try to develop your skills over the period of your internship.
The same rule applies to feedback and most people have their own way of delivering it. Try to get comfortable with the way that you are being given feedback and always try to come away with a clear understanding of what it means and how you might tackle it.
Ask questions if you don’t understand and request suggestions on how you might apply the feedback if you are unsure.
Make notes! Remember to be considerate of people's time and making notes of what you need to do will stop you forgetting anything or needing to ask for the feedback again.
Most importantly, remember to not take feedback to heart. Take everything on as learnings and use it to develop your skills over time. You will not be expected to know everything straight away so prepare to get it very wrong, be told you got it very wrong but then be given advice on how to make it right.
If you do feel like you’re being treated unfairly or spoken to in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable you should definitely go and discuss this with another member of the team.
Working As Part Of A Team
Depending on the size of the agency you are interning at, you will more than likely be asked to work as part of a team. In fact, if at some point you aren’t working as part of a team then things probably aren’t going exactly to plan.
This may be a shift for you, especially coming from education, where a lot of projects require you to work independently.
The most important part of working in teams is communication. Making sure you know what you are supposed to be doing and knowing how best to support your fellow teammates. Regular check-ins to make sure that you’re on track are helpful and making sure that you’re all working to the same timeframe.
Sharing your thoughts and having an opinion is also part of working in a team, as with the meeting etiquette though it’s important to make sure it’s relevant and considered.
Offering to help someone else out if you’re not busy too is always a help when working in a team.
Often there is a bit of downtime, especially as an intern, This tends to get less and less the more integrated into a team you make yourself.
It’s important to keep your enthusiasm and engagement with the team and your workup, even when there’s technically nothing for you to do.
Ask people if they need any help, and not just your immediate team. Ask other members of the studio if they need anything you can help with.
Ask to shadow and watch how someone is tackling their workload or a specific project.
Ask anyone if they’re free to talk, ask them about how the studio works, advice on portfolios etc. You have access to a wealth of information, try to tap into it.
Tackle a personal project, or see if there’s an agency pro-bono project you could be working on in your downtime. This can be a great way of getting a piece of work for your portfolio out of your internship.
Stay focussed on your job, it’s understandable if you’ve got downtime but try and use it wisely. It can frustrate people if they see you browsing Facebook or completely disengaged from what’s going on.
If Things Aren’t Great
Not everything always goes to plan and sometimes you could get pretty down on your internship. It’s important to keep communicating with your team members if something is bothering you, remember that they are on board with your internship program and have already shown a desire to help.
Ask advice and explain what you think the problem is and see if they can help. It’s definitely better to raise it that let it go unnoticed. People are busy and it can be hard to know if someone is having a bit of a rough time.
There will most likely be a range of people within the agency that you can talk to, and hopefully, there’s a director or HR if the problem is more serious.
Understanding that whilst you are an intern, you are a member of the team and most companies will go above and beyond to help if they can.
If you’re not feeling comfortable chatting to your team, reach out to friends, ex or current tutors or members of NNC, AGDA or Youngbloods, who are all well placed to offer impartial advice and suggestions about how to get your internship back on track.
Keep busy, even if it’s on something self-initiated
Don’t take feedback personally
Keep referring back to your internship plan to make sure you’re ticking off the important things you want to get out of the process