⋆Internship insights | Rachel Dawson
⋆Words from our Leadership Board | Carley Powell & Allie Engelhart
⋆Do clothes really matter? | Nicole Becker
⋆TED Talk: How to make work-life balance work | Nigel Marsh
Internship Insights | Rachel Dawson
As many of us begin our summer internships across the country and world, we are going in with the mindset of setting ourselves apart from the other interns and getting that offer by the end of summer. But how do we make sure this happens? What should we be thinking to ensure we make those great first impressions and learn the most from our experience?
I am now beginning my third week at FCB in Chicago on the Big Heart Pet Brands account. My team is awesome and I love my internship thus far. As my days with the company move forward, I have been trying to incorporate a few key things into my experience to make sure I learn as much as possible.
- Find your fit During meetings, try to figure out what role everyone plays and how you can facilitate the conversation. Sometimes you may not be able to participate or provide an opinion at the time, but it doesn’t hurt to discuss something with your supervisor post meeting or shooting over a quick email. Be sure to take tons of notes to send a follow up email to your supervisor or a recap of the meeting to the attendees. Doing a bit of extra work is never frowned upon, so show your willingness to do the small things for your colleagues. Everyone loves a team player who is positive and can provide a little insight into something. This also goes along with the rule to always ask if there is something to be done. If you have finished your work, check with anyone around you to see if they need any help.
- Set goals for the summer Sit down with your supervisor and set specific goals you would like to accomplish. These next few weeks are going to fly by, and you want to make sure you learn as much as you can during this experience. I set aside three to four goals and discussed them with my supervisor the next day. This allowed me to change a few things and add in points we thought would be valuable.
- Ask question upon question Asking questions may be the most important thing you can do throughout your short time with a company. Supervisors and superiors want someone who works hard, but is also eager to learn more about the company and the various roles people have to ensure the business is successful. If you don’t ask questions, you will not learn as much from your experience and may miss out on something that could be pivotal to your success. There are times, however, you should know when to ask a question, or go figure it out yourself. Just try to figure out that balance.
- Plan weekly gatherings with your supervisor This has been extremely helpful during my internship. I meet with my supervisor every morning to discuss business for the day, but then have a weekly coffee meeting once a week to discuss non-business related things. This provides the opportunity to get to know your supervisor on a more personal level and see their fun side a bit more. They can give you tips for things to see in your area and other recommendations for your up and coming career overall. I also take this time to ensure I’m meeting her expectations and ask if there is anything I should be focusing on over the next few weeks.
- Get to know the intern group These are your people for the summer. They get your day to day schedule and understand the work you do. Even though they may be seen as your competition for an offer, these could be your future co-workers and your best friends. See it as a networking and friendship opportunity. Plan some intern gatherings and outings, such as a bar crawl or baseball game for the summer. Get to know your full time co-workers, too. They know the ins and outs of what you could be doing after graduation and can give you a great recommendation in the future.
Words from our Leadership Board | Carley Powell
So you’ve got the interview down, you networked like it was your job, or they were just drawn to you, and you landed the internship. No surprise there! So now being a few weeks in, what happens next?
Surprisingly, getting the internship is actually the easy part. I think one of the most common mistakes we can make is to assume since we were offered the job, it’s a breeze from here. When actually, all we’ve done is convince them we are worth taking a chance on, that we are worth their assets to invest in each one of us, in hopes they can hire us on afterwards. It’s a two way street – they need bright new hires to keep their company moving forward, and you’re the one they see holding that weight someday.
So use this summer to not only live up to that, but to exceed any expectations they have of you. Here’s a few tips I’ve found to really put me ahead of the game.
- The human mind develops its first impression of you in 7 seconds. Focus on your personal brand. How do you want to come off? What will that person think in two weeks when another co worker drops your name in conversation? You want it to be damn good, so the word spreads about you.
- Do what you promise. It’s easy to get caught up and want to impress our bosses, who wouldn’t want to? I found myself wanting to take on more and more to prove my worth. But if you can’t actually complete it, and over do it or be as thorough as you need to me, you’ll only damage your rep. There’s more respect given to an intern who knows themselves well enough to say, “my plate is full now, but I would love to dive into it tomorrow. I have a window at 9am – can I still benefit you by helping then?” And if you can’t, they respect you because it’s clear you care about the quality of work you turn in and that you want to benefit the company.
- Network networknetwork. There’s so much to be said about the employee who takes the time to not only know their own role, but to understand how their job affects everyone else’s. Set up coffee with people whose roles interact with yours. Ask about their day to day job, see how your projects affect them and ensure you so something to some how make their job more effective or efficient with your work. Then ask them to suggest someone else to meet with. Not only are you learning the entire company’s function and getting to understand a big picture, but you may start to see what roles you could love doing every single day for your career. You’ll also learn what you don’t want to do, which has just as much value if not more. Create this spider network, because it’s never just one person deciding if you come back. It’s an army – and when the entire army knows your name and is saying great things about your work ethic, your values and your drive? You’re in a great position. I found this not only helps you get the second offer, but these people who have left the company that I left an impact on last summer would stop in a heartbeat to network for me and get me a job anywhere I needed. Good people help good people, because they see ambition. Be that, and you will feel such a reward at the end of the summer.
- Have a life balance. Stop and play the xbox in the office with some new co workers, grab a beer or bite to eat with them after work, take time to shut down your laptop and go outside, and limit yourself to what you know yore capable of. You will never be happy only working, so make sure amongst your hard work you’re taking a little time to breathe and reflect on the journey itself.
Words from our Leadership Board | Allie Engelhart
First off, I hope you all are having amazing summers and I definitely miss hanging out with my PSE family! I was asked by Nicole to share some tips for rocking your internships and while I know you all are well on your way to doing that I hope some of these Procter & Gamble pieces help.
- Define your Work Plan, and then Re-Define it At P&G we are given our work plan at the beginning of the summer and are responsible for executing it throughout the twelve week internship. After I fully understood my project the first thing I did was create a one-page summary of my work plan that included the background, business question, project statement, stakeholders, immediate next steps, and long term learning plan. Not only were my managers impressed but it a.) Ensures that my managers and I are on the same page with what my goals and objectives are for the summer; b.) Provides me with something to give my mentors and other P&Gers so they can quickly understand my project and provide suggestions for how to execute (opposed to me explaining it to 20+ people verbally); and c.) Allows me to constantly refer back it to make sure that every action I take is benefitting my overall goal. The other great thing about my one-page summary is that it is constantly changing, so as I said make sure you constantly re-define your work plan. Having the foundation allows me to alter my learning plan and my stakeholder groups as I feel necessary and it also helps me easily figure how I can exceed expectations by adding pieces to the plan.
- Understand How Your Project Fits into the Business This is not an easy task but it is what makes not only our internships, but our PSE projects, great! Your work and recommendations do not exist in a vacuum; you’re doing this work so that somebody in some part of the business can use it (whether it’s a startup or P&G). Therefore, it’s important to understand who is going to use it and how they are going to use it so you can perfectly cater your work to them. Once you understand who you’re working for you can set up your recommendations so that they are easy to implement so your stakeholder doesn’t have to put in a lot of effort to use it. This is what made Schneider Electric such a great project; we created something that leaned on an existing process so it required minimal effort to be launched. Make sure you know what and who your work is benefitting and then go above and beyond to meet their needs.
- Enjoy the Work/Life Balance I’ve learned this summer how important having that balance is though and how it’s not just want you do in the workplace that defines you as a professional/person, but that what you do outside of the workplace is just as important. This summer I’ve hung out with my manager and my one-up outside of work, explored the city with my fellow interns, went to Reds games, played a lot of sand volleyball, enjoyed Riverbend concerts, danced on Fountain Square, worked out in Washington Park, attended way too many P&G Happy Hours, and more. Not only have I had an unreal amount of fun but I’ve built relationships with these people that are far more rich then the ones I would have built just inside the office. I know it’s tempting to go home and crash after work but make an effort to soak in your city and to develop new relationships; I swear your summer will be 1,000x better if you do!
I hope those tips help and please reach out to me if you have questions or just want to catch up. We are lucky to be a part of such an awesome organization, so if you’re struggling on a project or want a new perspective, use your PSE friends as a soundboard. I’d love to help out and hear what you all are working on this summer. I miss you all, I’m proud of you for rocking it this summer, and I look forward to seeing you in the fall!
Do clothes really matter? | Nicole Becker
For nine months out of the year we spend our time lounging around Miami in gym shorts, leggings, and sweatshirts. But, when summer comes around, we are forced to dust off our blazers and put on clothes that are not made of spandex. The last two weeks have been a definite struggle for me. Having to wear matching outfits and actually shower everyday is not my definition of fun. But it is a fact of life. And, there is no better way to ace your internship than by dressing well.
Dressing well does not mean wearing designer shoes and custom suits. Rather, it is about showing your personality and feeling comfortable within your own skin. Last year Forbes featured an article called: What Your Clothes Say About You. And, honestly, your clothes say it all. Clothes help you feel confident, presentable, and rested. This summer is all about first impressions. You only get one chance to be memorable, and people are more likely to notice your clothes than any other part of you. So, wake up each morning, take a shower, and put on clothes that make you feel inspired and empowered.
How to make work-life balance work | Nigel Marsh