Let’s just flat-out establish that not all internships will yield the same experience; every agency is different and experiences may vary. However, there are some general things—applicable to most agencies—the AKHIA interns would like to share with those hoping to intern at any public relations, marketing or communications agency. Here’s our rundown of words-to-know, our thoughts on the “real world” and some expert advice from our internship program supervisors.

Three Words You Need in Your Wheelhouse
One thing not necessarily covered in your education is the must-know industry lingo. There are obvious—and helpful—buzzwords like “B2C” and “analytics” that are clearly defined throughout your college career, but there are also some lesser-known terms that you should know.

Deck. No, we’re not talking about that big wooden thing in your backyard. The “college” term for a deck is PowerPoint. The PowerPoints you used to make the day of your presentations are (sadly) no longer acceptable. Instead, they’ve turned into distinguished decks your team spent weeks designing, writing and strategizing. The name still doesn’t make sense? Think of it as a deck of cards—the slides represent the cards and together they make a deck.

Retainer. We hate to bring back horrifying memories from the orthodontist (sorry!) but keep calm. A retainer in our industry is an allotted amount of money paid by a client in order to secure an agency’s services throughout a period of time.

Content marketing. As defined by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing “is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In simpler terms, this means to create uniformed content to consistently hold the attention of a specific audience for profit.

The Truth About the Big Bad “Real World”
We’ve all heard it. Our mothers, fathers and grandparents; we’ve heard them talk about how scary the “real world” will be. The truth is …it’s not… at least it’s not if you choose the right workplace. There are probably offices that make you feel like you’ve met the big bad real world. But, there are also employers that will send out “happy birthday” emails every time an employee—or intern—has a birthday. There are workplaces that will hold pizza lunches just because they see how hard everyone, at every level, is working. Most importantly, there are workplaces that will say thank you for the work that really, you’re happy to do because you love your job. The only thing professors, family or whoever should tell you about the “real world” is that you’ll probably be surprised by how much you’ll like it once you’re in it.

Advice From the People Who Run the Show
Although we already established that the “real word” isn’t as bad as people say it is (at least not at AKHIA), it’s still helpful to know how to succeed. So, we asked our supervisors questions to gather top-notch advice.

What’s the key to success at an agency?
Organization. By taking a step back to get organized, you have the opportunity to look at the bigger picture, which will ultimately help you achieve your goals without missing a beat.” -Jodee Juarez, Account Executive

Do you have any advice for interns specifically?
Learn by example. I saw my managers leading the way with their big ideas, friendly attitudes and seemingly never-ending ability to be understanding when others needed help. I made sure to emulate their example and give back in any way I can, because no one makes it up the ladder on their own. We’re all human, so let’s treat each other that way.” -Ryan Collins, Social Media Program Manager

Is there a piece of advice someone gave you that has always stuck with you that you would like to pass on to young professionals?
Be confident. There’s no reason to be doubtful and question yourself, because you have talent and skills to offer. My other piece of advice is to be yourself; if you’re true to yourself, you’ll be happier and more successful in your career in the long run.” -Jodee Juarez, Account Executive

Interning at an agency is an incredible opportunity for students to make their mark. Volunteering for additional projects, staying late, showing initiative, asking senior colleagues out to coffee or lunch and being a friendly, fun person to be around are great ways to get noticed and get ahead. Also, always be genuine. Be yourself.” -Ryan Collins, Social Media Program Manager
As an intern, what have you learned from being at a communications agency? Or, as a professional, what advice would you give to an intern?