My experience of being a Dragon Intern has been really fantastic and I have already catalogued some of what I have learned. As I finish a full year in this office, I wanted to share my experience and advice for other interns, both here at DragonSearch and elsewhere.
An internship was a required part of my college curriculum. Had I not secured one over the summer, my entire schedule would have been thrown off including not being able to graduate when planned. I definitely felt the pressure, maybe was even freaking out a little bit. But now, I can’t imagine missing the experience of doing an internship. As this tweet from my third day points out:
That still holds true for me; I feel as though I’ve learned more working at DragonSearch than I did in any classroom. Having real projects to work on and fostering a learning environment, DragonSearch helped me gain more knowledge about social media and SEO than I ever imagined. Some of the best learning hasn’t been technical, but more about learning how to work in an office environment. This was my first experience working in this type of setting – most of my other jobs were more free form, i.e. shelving books at the local library, being a camp counselor and waitressing. So here is advice, straight from the dragon’s mouth:
One of the most important things I learned was to participate as much as you can. Talk to your coworkers, encourage them to teach you and let you work. My time as a Dragon got a whole lot more fun once I opened up and actually starting talking to the people around me. Eagerness is key!
Yes, even with the best of internships, you may be called on to run some errands, or do task that is obviously something that no one else wants to do. Remember, it has to get done and when you are willing to jump in and do what is needed, it shows that you are a team player. I will point out, I was never asked to go fetch coffee for anyone, thankfully!
One of the first things nearly everyone told me on my first day of interning at DragonSearch was to ask questions. You may have heard the same thing in a classroom and then subsequently heard crickets chirping. That should not be the case when interning. Asking questions will help you learn, which is the point of the internship in the first place, right?
Many, many times you will be asked, “Can you do this for me?” The best response is just roll up your sleeves and say “yes!” It will not only be a great learning experience to get out of your comfort zone, but it will also remind the team that you are a problem solver. One important caveat… don’t say yes if you can’t actually get it done on time! If you do that, you’ve just let down the team and will probably lose some of their trust. No one wants to give work to someone they don’t trust.
If you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in an intern rut and have stopped learning, you have to take initiative. Ask someone directly if they have anything you can do. You’re here to learn, and you shouldn’t feel trapped in the work you are doing. Be proactive and make sure you are constantly seeking out new learning opportunities.
Check out my Prezi for more on what I learned at DragonSearch.
DragonSearch’s internship program is strong. It takes all of the above advice into consideration and therefore, creates great internships that foster great interns (if I do say so myself, and there were two other interns who also thrived during my time here). Internship programs are valuable and beneficial both for the company and for the intern. Don’t miss the opportunity to take on the challenge.