I had drinks recently with a professor friend of mine and she asked me what companies are looking for from their Marketing Interns. GREAT question, I should have more answers than I did, but it got me thinking about what graduates need to know. So here’s a few things that popped out to me:
1. Writing. you have GOT to be a good writer, it’s all about content marketing in this day and age. Can you write it in 4 paragraphs? can you write it in 140 characters? We’ll need you to do both.
2. Know the company inside and out. This onus is as much on the company as the intern/new hire. But to best be the voice (or a voice) of the company, tell them everything. When I worked at PSBJ I asked everyone questions. People asked me questions and I got the answer. It made me a ridiculous resource. I knew answers to editorial questions some of the reporters weren’t sure of. Ask and get answers.
3. Ask questions. Don’t say yes if you don’t really mean it. Ask questions, make sure you’re making progress and figure it out yourself when possible, but make sure you ask questions.
4. Do NOT hit send on that email. A big conversation with my friend was about being a good writer. You need to be a good writer, however it seems like spelling isn’t as big of an “issue” these days. With spellcheck and auto correct you’ve got a built in CYA. So, first day on the job, set up your inbox to automatically spell check before it hits send. Make sure you READ the email before you hit send. your/you’re/yore are different words. its/it’s/its’ mean different things. And I would fire you if I see a lot as one word. Read the email before you hit send, use spell check. It’s OK if you aren’t a good speller, but there’s no excuse for bad spelling in this day and age.
5. Ask to try new things. If there is something you’re interested in learning, make sure to ask. And a good manager can hopefully (within reason) give you the opportunity to try out something you may not have thought you’d get to try. When I was interning at the local NBC affiliate in Spokane, I was in the promotions department. However, my manager setup a day for me to ride around with a reporter and watch them get their story on the news. Pretty cool. And a good reminder that the quick turnaround pressure was NOT the right fit for me.