Tips for Your Internship
Congratulations! You’ve got yourself an internship! The question is, what now? The experience you can gain from an internship is invaluable, so you want to be sure that you get everything possible out of it. For three months at the beginning of this year, I was the Adult’s Marketing and Publicity Intern at Bloomsbury. I had a fantastic and enriching time, getting to work behind the scenes with publicists and marketers on a range of campaigns, as well as offering vital administrative support. At its core an internship is a learning opportunity, so I’ve compiled some tips to help you have a productive and rewarding experience.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice I can offer is don’t be afraid to ask questions! Developing and maintaining an open line of communication with your managers and colleagues benefits everyone.
When you’re given a task, be sure to ask what the deadline is as this will help you effectively prioritise. The people around you won’t expect you to know everything straight away, so if you have any questions about what you’ve been asked to do, there’s no harm in asking for clarification.
I had two managers at Bloomsbury, both of whom offered regular catch ups to help ensure I was staying on top of my workload. Be honest about how much you have to do and if you ever feel like you need more tasks or help managing those you’ve already been given. There were times when I had to ask if the deadline for a task could be pushed back when time-sensitive jobs were given to me, and everyone was very helpful in this regard. Nobody wants you to be overloaded or for their jobs to be rushed, so just be honest about what you can handle. It will not reflect poorly on you.
With twenty-two very busy publicists and marketers across the two offices I was working in, it was inevitable that I worked with some more than others and would primarily be discussing the tasks at hand. However, a great way to get a better understanding of an individual role and the department you’re working in is to book a meeting with a colleague. Setting aside some time to have a chat allows you to ask any questions you have about what they do, the titles they’re working on, or past campaigns you enjoyed.
For example, I had a wonderful chat with Marketing Manager Hannah Paget about the campaign for Three Women, and it was a great opportunity to hear about all the decisions that were made and the intentions behind them. I spoke to a number of colleagues in the marketing and publicity teams about their path into their current job, what they enjoy about it, and I got some insightful advice about job applications and CVs. Make sure to jot down some questions before your meeting if there’s anything specific you’d like to discuss.
An extension of this is that you can request meetings with members of different teams.
Depending on who you would like to speak to, it’s worth running it past your manager first, but there will definitely be someone from every department willing to have a half hour chat about what they do. Getting this insight can also help develop your understanding of how all the different departments collaborate to bring a book into the world. Additionally, being proactive in this regard will show that you’re someone keen to learn, gives you the chance to develop professional relationships and you will gain networking skills.
When starting an internship, it can help for you to have an idea of what you’re looking to get out of it. Is there a particular software or digital tool you want to know how to use? Do you want to see every stage of a campaign? Do you want to practice writing copy? This can give you purpose. However, you never know exactly what can happen day to day — that’s part of what makes publishing so exciting! As an intern, there will be plenty of daily administrative tasks to complete, but as you continue to prove yourself as reliable you will get more responsibilities. The best thing to do throughout your time is be flexible, adapt to what is put in front of you and embrace everything that comes your way. You might start out thinking you’d only ever be interested in marketing and end up loving the publicity tasks you’re given.
Weeks can fly by when you’re busy and enjoying yourself, so make sure you get stuck in. Good luck!