Meet Emily, TFB’s strategy intern. She’s an advertising student at VCU’s Robertson School, where I teach. As a professor, I get so many questions about how to get an internship and what companies are looking for in an intern. Emily get’s tons of questions about how she got her internship and how she’s kept it for so long (She’s been with TFB for just over a year). I thought I’d let Emily share her perspective and help me answer.
We broke up this topic into two parts. In Part One, we’ll share about what it’s like to work at TFB Agency, tips on getting an internship and being a good intern. In Part Two, we’ll get into a little bit more about me and her and our relationship. Take it away, Emily:
Every day at TFB Agency is different, which is probably one of my favorite things about the internship. Whether we’re meeting with clients, adding content to pitch decks, creating graphics or doing market/industry research, Christina and I are always pretty busy. We both have very similar styles of working, which includes constant collaboration and lots of coffee.
When I come into work every day, I immediately open TFB’s Project Management Google sheet to see my daily to-do’s. This sheet lists all of our ongoing projects, new work, and completed assignments. This sheet helps Christina and I see what we have to do for the week, and is a great organizational tool. When we are done with assignments, we move them to the “Completed” tab. It’s pretty rewarding to go back through what we’ve done, and see how much we’ve accomplished as a team in such a short amount of time.
At TFB Agency, I’ve quickly learned that collaboration is key. After making our daily to-do lists, Christina and I are constantly brainstorming new ideas for client projects and thinking of inspiration for things that we can do next. We both have separate projects and assigned work, but we always come together to get projects done in a timely manner.
As a TFB intern, I love getting to do real work for real clients. I learn so much every day, not only about the company but about the different industries (PR, Marketing, Advertising) as well. Everything that I do at work is always a small piece of a bigger picture, which is extremely rewarding. I love the work that I do for Christina and TFB, and love seeing how much this company has grown, and how much I’ve grown with it. – Emily
What were you looking for in an internship?
Emily: Experience. When I reached out to Christina, I wasn’t even really that concerned with getting a paid or unpaid job. I just wanted an internship that would allow me to learn more about social media, content, and something related to the advertising field. As a sophomore, I was just really focused on getting as much experience on my resume as possible.
How did you get this internship/what were the first steps?
Emily: I first learned about TFB and Christina when she came into my Marketing 301 class to present her brand and experience. I remember thinking “Wow, I want to do exactly what she’s doing.” After her presentation, I sent her an email just asking if she knew of any internship opportunities for Advertising students, and am so happy that I did. She sent me an email back telling me that she was looking for an intern, and I immediately filled it out and applied.
I can’t stress how important it is to simply just reach out to people. Networking and making connections is a pivotal step that is necessary to take if you want to find a good internship. If I never reached out to Christina after her presentation, I probably would have never been where I am today. It’s crazy how far a simple email can go!
What is the best part about being an intern for TFB?
Emily: Mainly working with real people, and real clients. I love seeing my work evolve and be used for something great, and I love learning more about running an agency from a first-hand experience. I also love working on new projects every day, since every single day at TFB is totally different from the last.
What have you learned so far?
Emily: I’ve learned a lot at TFB, but mainly how to network, how to be professional, how to adapt and how to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve learned how to pull social reports, perform social audits, pull/interpret analytics, do “social listening” and also how to manage and prioritize projects.
I’ve also never worked a 9-5 job before, so I’ve learned what it is like to in the “real world.” Working at TFB hasn’t felt like a stereotypical internship, just because I’m beginning to see what it would be like to work full time. It has taken an internship to a whole new level and has given me real-life job experience.
Originally, what did you expect the internship with TFB would be like? How have your expectations changed since?
Emily: When I first joined the TFB team, it was mainly focused on the beauty side of the blog. My first event with Christina was the Southern Women’s show, which was focused on fashion and makeup. Now, I am working completely on the business side of TFB agency, and it has been awesome to see how much the company has grown. I love seeing all of the new clients, new work and new experiences that have come our way. There’s something special about seeing an agency grow.
How do you balance school and interning?
Emily: I’m a firm believer in only taking on what you can handle, and I think this definitely applies to the time spent interning versus school. Working and focusing on classes can be a lot, but I think that if you’re passionate about the work that you’re doing and are committed to the brand, that it shouldn’t be an issue. As a student, school is your most important job, but I also think that it is extremely important to be getting real-world experience as a college student. Definitely, don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much, but if it is an internship that you’re interested in, take it seriously and work hard! The balance will come. You can also use the skills that you’ve learned in your internship and apply them to your school work, and vice versa.
What did you bring to TFB that you learned in school?
Emily: Creative thinking, and a new perspective. As an Advertising student, we are always taught to look at things differently, and I think that I brought that to TFB. I also brought along time management skills, which comes in handy with all of the different projects that we have going on.
What are some key qualities that make Emily perfect for the job?
Christina: Enthusiasm for sure. Every time I ask Emily to work on something, I feel. That makes me want to involve her in more projects and give her as many opportunities as I can.
What skills are needed to work with TFB?
Christina: Energy and the ability and willingness to adapt quickly. We’re always shifting gears and working on new things.
Where did you intern in college?
Christina: My first internship was at an advertising agency called Moroch. They are based out of Dallas but had a satellite office in Richmond. We handled the Mcdonald’s account. I was responsible for putting together marketing calendars and mailing them out.
Why do you think internships are important? What is your best piece of advice for interns everywhere?
Christina: Internships are a great opportunity to make mistakes. There is so much power in coming. Embrace it. As you move further in your career, you can feel pressure to know the answers and be the expert with people looking up to you. This is the time to embrace being the newbie. Take risks. Meet as many people as you can and get as much as you can out of this learning opportunity.
Do interns get paid?
Christina: I get this question a lot and I’m always checking with Emily and my students to keep a pulse on it. Some programs require students to complete an internship. I think it depends on the nature of the internship. When I first brought on Emily, she was an unpaid intern. Her position was focused more on shadowing and learning the ropes. After a semester, we switched the structure of her role to a paid internship with more responsibilities. Now, Emily has a part in client projects.
In preparation for this post, we did a quick ask of our network to see who was on the lookout for an intern. Here are some internships heard back about and their points of contact:
Marketing & Communications Manager | Make A Wish Foundation (Caroline Browell). This is an ongoing opportunity. Apply online.
Marketing Intern | Manifest In You Consulting (Danielle Gilbert): Danielle is looking for someone Customer-focused with attention to details that’s innovative and reliable. Applications are due by May 1, 2018 to Info@daniellemgilbert.com
*PAID* Communications/Marketing/PR Intern | Virginia Physicians For Women (Molly Wright). Molly’s looking for a self-starter with the ability to work independently. The ideal candidate is innovative and interested in taking ownership of his or her work. She’s looking to hire ASAP. Contact Molly at email@example.com.
Marketing/Graphics/Events Intern | B Side Collective (Ja’Nai Frederick): B Side Collective is an indie, multiple-channel publication that spotlights, inspires, and provides curated resources for local women in business. They’re looking for interns that are passionate about design and meaningful disruption. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
*PAID* Graphic Design Intern | Freelance (Jamin Hoyle): Jamin is a freelance art and creative director with a lot on his plate for the next couple of months. I was kind of thinking about looking for an intern or a junior designer/AD for some help. It would be real work, he’d pay real dough. But he needs a pretty solid designer (someone fast and good in Illustrator especially), as well as someone serious and ambitious and interested in learning a little bit while getting paid. Contact email@example.com ASAP if you’re interested.
*PAID* Marketing Intern | Legacy Navigator (Annie Miller): Legacy Navigator is a people first company with a mission to make a positive impact on the clients and communities we serve. They are looking for two individuals – one with Digital Marketing exposure and one with journalism/ editing, to bring what working experience and knowledge they have to our team. They are asking for at least 12+hours / week for each person – and hope they want to be there more! This is an ongoing opportunity and they are looking to hire ASAP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*PAID* PR Intern | Alliance Group (Sarah Huang): Alliance Group is looking for candidates that match these criteria:
-Excellent writing, communication and research skills
-Strong time management skills and ability to multitask and prioritize projects
-Ability to be self-motivated yet able to work in a team environment
-Ability to meet deadlines and work in a fast-paced environment
-Graphic design skills are a plus
-Social media savvy is a must
This is an ongoing opportunity. Contact email@example.com to apply.
*PAID* Marketing & Events Intern | ChamberRVA (Sarah Skrocki): Creativity, organization, maturity and ability to follow through are musts for this opportunity. Email your resume, cover letter and portfolio samples to firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
PS: we’re always happy to share internships and job opportunities in our industry community with our network. Feel free to fill out the Internship form and we’ll get your posting added. For general questions, contact us here.