The Intern Experience

Colin Dame: Advertising Major, Temple University, Class of 2019

Here at LevLane, helping students prepare for the corporate world through our intern program is something that, as a company, we pride ourselves on. We take their contributions seriously and we welcome the many innovative and fresh ideas they bring to the table. In fact, many of our best and hardest working team members began their careers with us as interns.

Colin Dame has had a similar journey and recently wrote an essay describing what his intern experience has been like with LevLane thus far. So, in his own words, and with his usual quirky spin on things, here is Colin’s intern experience…with a twist.

What Rihanna Taught Me About the Advertising Industry

By: Colin Dame

While earning my bachelor’s degree in Advertising at Temple University I participated in LevLane’s Intern program. For the past two semesters, I have been splitting my time between studying for my degree and learning everything I can about the inner workings of an ad agency.

As you may know, advertising agencies are high-pressure incubators for marketing and creative professionals. What you might not know is that Rihanna totally interned at an ad agency before she started singing. In fact, one of her most popular songs gives deep insight into what it’s like at an agency…well, kind of. I’ve broken down some of those lyrics into lessons any aspiring intern can use in the day-to-day.

The Lyric: You see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work

The Lesson: Ask For More Work

Rihanna gets it! Agency life is about putting in the work, work, work, work, work, work. But even in the slow moments, you need to get the most out of your time as an intern. Tasks run dry? Ask the media department if they need help with some reporting. Recently, I stepped in to help our SEO director with some keyword research, a vital skill for any aspiring content marketer, web developer or social media strategist; not to mention an easy resume builder!

The Lyric: You see me do me dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt

The Lesson: Ask For Help

What you do isn’t dirt! Everything you do is to help your client’s business. But you’re not a seasoned adperson…yet – there’s no reason you should know everything. There have been times when a manager has given me an assignment, and 10 minutes into it, I had no idea what was going on. It’s crucial to ask for clarification. Your supervisors completely understand that agency-talk can be a foreign language to you.

The Lyric: There’s something ’bout that work, work, work, work, work, work

The Lesson: Get Involved Wherever You Can

Agency life includes a lot of different interactions with clients – they are the folks paying you after all! Sitting in on meetings is a great way to better understand business communications in an agency. In meetings, you will learn when to talk, to whom to talk, how to talk, and what to say. Incorporating those fundamentals will take you far in this client-centric world.

The Lyric: When you a gon’ learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn

The Lesson: Go Outside Your Department

If you’re lucky enough to work at a full-service agency, you’ll quickly realize that the people there all do very different things. Introduce yourself to someone new every day. Chat with an art director about what their process looks like. Introduce yourself to someone you haven’t met before. If people in the office know your name and know what work you’ve contributed to, you lay the groundwork to making great network connections or a chance to join the agency full-time.

The Lyric: Me na care if me tired, tired, tired, tired, tired, tired

The Lesson: Self-Care is Key

You’re driven. That’s why you’re an intern, right? You want the best possible job out of college because you want to produce the best work. Well, you can’t do that if you’re running on empty with a flat tire. Nix going out 5 nights a week, and go get some sleep! Your future self and career will thank you.

Attach the Attachment

Ok, not a lyric, but it’s so important to be present during this experience. Take each moment one step at a time, and don’t think 6 steps ahead. If you’re sending your supervisor a deliverable, she’s never going to know how beautifully thought out it is if you forget to actually attach the attachment. Proof and edit each assignment with superb detail, and your supervisors will love you for what little work they will need to do to anything you turn in. Trust me, the easier you make their job the happier they’ll be!

Yes, being an intern is a requirement for graduating but if you do it right it can most certainly work to your advantage. A few reminders: do your research, find an internship that is the right fit for you and immerse yourself in any way you can within the company and you will get the most out of your intern program! Hopefully, these tips help you in your journey to become the next top CCO, CMO (or agency intern turned superstar if you decide to follow in Rihanna’s footsteps instead).