I have been interning with Candybox for roughly 3 months now, and needless to say, it’s been a pretty sweet experience thus far. Only after the first couple of weeks of my internship, I had the opportunity to attend a Business Conference at Sheridan College with the Candybox crew to support Darrell’s keynote presentation. A conference that Candybox sponsored, I might add so that I can boast about the Candybox flavored ice cream they made literally on the spot with liquid nitrogen.
Just last week I was able to help man a booth for Launch48 at the Toronto Entrepreneurs Conference where Darrell attended as a guest speaker as well.
With opportunities like these, I still have to manage my time appropriately so that I can complete all my other intern tasks and responsibilities. I’ve had a pretty sweet intern experience thus far; accomplishing my tasks on a timely basis while still making time for any opportunity that has presented themselves.
Here are five tips that will guarantee you a pretty sweet intern experience:
Tip #1: Find Confidence in Your Voice
It may get intimidating talking to experienced professionals, but as one of the current team members once told me, “it’s better to speak up and be completely wrong, then say nothing and be secretly right.” Have faith in yourself and even trust that your employer chose you for a reason.
It is essential that you ask questions; the intern experience is all about learning. It is your opportunity to maximize your current skills and develop new ones along the way. There is no harm in clarifying something with someone; it is better to do so than doing something the wrong way due to miscommunication.
Tip #2: Self-Learn at Your Own Time
Google will be your best friend. Youtube will be your tutor. The dictionary will be your little secret.
Remember to utilize the tools that are disposable to you. To maximize your internship, take some of your time before or after work to go over programs/concepts that are new to you. Doing this will allow you to focus on taking on more tasks and learning even more things when you’re in the office/studio. Make sure that you understand your limits as well, to not over-exhaust yourself in this process.
Tip #3: Always Listen
Make sure that you are listening and paying attention so that you avoid having your colleagues repeat themselves. It is good to clarify, but there is a difference between obtaining clarification and just not listening to begin with. Everyone’s time is valuable. Make sure you respect their time and maximize the time they allotted out of their schedule to help you.
Tip #4: Stay Organized
Think of your laptop as your mobile office. Organize everything in folders, put daily to-do lists on post-it’s, and if you have a MacBook, separate different tasks in different desktops. It can get a little hectic when you have different departments to support. Learn more digital organizational tips in an upcoming post.
Tip #5: Keep the Candy Shelf Stocked Up
If you do choose to apply/ get hired at Candybox, commit to going to the same candy store every time so that you can generate a mental map of where to find the candy you need to buy. The candy shelf is a client and employee favorite. When I first started, I created a candy poll to see what the studio favorites were. Use that information to generate a general shopping list, but keep in mind that that can change depending on any other preference the studio may want. It’s a good practice to periodically check in to see if anyone wants anything specific, or if there are clients in the studio, ask them too if time permits!
Depending on where you do work, if you don’t have a candy shelf you can still apply the same principals to other things, for example, if your company has a coffee bar etc.
You can tell a lot about an organization based on how they treat people at “the bottom.” Everyone from the Candybox crew, including Darrell, treated the other interns and I with equal respect and equal expectation for the quality for my work. I’m going to be honest, there was a part of me that was against applying for an internship. It’s so easy to get consumed by every excuse not to apply for an internship.
You need to outweigh your opportunity costs and identify what benefit you will attain from taking on an internship, versus not taking on an internship. I’m going to be honest, the only internship I wanted was Candybox; I didn’t bother applying anywhere else. Keep in mind that this decision took me several months of self-reflection and some research to make.
There is validity to those statements written above depending on where you are in your life, but ask yourself, are the statements a make-it-or-break-it for you, or are you making excuses because you are afraid?
If you made it this far (yes this blog ended up longer than I intended it to), I’ll let you in on another tip.
Tip #6: Understand Your Worth.
Maybe you’re reading this with the intention of applying at Candybox. Maybe you’re reading this because you already landed the job (congratulations), or maybe you just so happen to venture off into the maze that is Google and landed on this page because of the magic that is SEO.
Regardless, tip number six is by far the most important. My sister and a family friend (who is a hotel manager) recently offered to help me get a job waitressing at a hotel. The pay was okay, the job wasn’t difficult, and my family could get discounts on that hotel all over the world. I knew that I could get a similar job and get paid more for the same amount work hours. I also knew that waitressing no longer has anything to do with what I want to pursue in the future. Although I was grateful for the offer, I knew that there is no actual long-term benefit from this job. I wouldn’t be learning anything immensely new, and though I am a firm believer that you can learn from any experience, the plausible knowledge I could gain from that job doesn’t amount to the benefit I could provide them, and the knowledge I can learn somewhere else.
I respectfully declined the offer and decided to work on other things. It isn’t cocky; it’s understanding your strengths, your weaknesses, what you want to improve on, and have an idea of what you can learn from wherever you are. It’s about knowing your value and choosing to invest in becoming the best version of yourself.
“We need to stop making excuses and make a plan to invest in ourselves.” – Darrell Keezer