Hi guys! I am Kristy McInnis, the style and content intern at Sseko for the summer! I wanted to give you guys 10 tips to rock your summer internship!
Do research on the company
We know by now you have stalked the company’s social media and are back in 2011’s on Instagram, but what is most important is researching the company through their website. Take time to fill your brain with their mottos because for the next few months you will eat, sleep and breathe them. They are what the company was founded on, so take notes! It’s even more important to know the company’s story so you know that you are contributing correctly to their image. Sseko has a special story that they try to incorporate into every aspect of their company, and keeping that in the back of my head through all of the other moving parts keeps me humble.
Dress the part
Depending on the company, you may need to get all fancy with your matching suit and tie, or can throw on nice jeans and a shirt. Word of advice: leave that skin tight nude dress at home( you are not going clubbing!) and lay off the perfume or cologne (we get it you smell good and showered today). On the opposite end of things, avoid looking like you just rolled out of bed. Bed head hair and dragon breath are not ways you want to be remembered. Ask beforehand what you should wear for a typical day at the office, or worst case head to your helpful search engine (yay Google!) to see typical outfits in your profession. Sseko has a very bohemian and relaxed vibe so I can show up in a nice pair of jeans and a cute flowy top for my work day.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
I am the queen of asking questions and if I don’t understand something I get clarification right away! It may be hard at first, especially if you’re on the shy side, but people will respect that you care enough to do it the right way instead of redoing the project five or six times later. If you feel like you are completely lost, reread your documents to make sure it’s not right in front of your face. Sseko has everything pretty laid out for us, but they make you feel welcome to ask questions or send them an email if they are looking a little swarmed with their own workload.
Use your mentor
We are blessed in the sense that we work directly under the person we were hired by here at Sseko. We got a good sense of our mentor’s personalities before we started our first day. They are here for us to bounce ideas off of and give us fun new projects to work on!
Take pride in your work
When someone is as passionate as the Sseko staff is, you feel connected to your work because you know it’s benefiting someone else in the long run. Taking pride in your work is very important because you deeply care about the final product and overall produce better work. Someone once told us that they were getting coffee as an intern and told themselves, “If I’m getting coffee, that will be the best darn coffee they will ever have”. Even if you are going on coffee runs (or taking out trash!) remember to have a positive outlook. The hiring manager knows your potential and gave you that job because you are qualified enough, so show them what you got! I am lucky enough to only have to get my own coffee, but I know there will be a day.
One of my favorite moments so far is that I got to work on Sseko’s seventh birthday campaign. We got to learn how to make a fun GIF for the promotion!
Take note of the office environment
Sseko is a very quiet office. Everyone is in their zone and we all work in one large open room. Someone will say something, we will all break into laughter and then we will go right back to work. It’s important to take note of voice levels; being naturally loud I have learned to adjust myself. If you come in and notice that everyone lowers their voice when someone is on the phone or leaves the door open in the office, then follow that!
Find something in the company you can connect with and love. This will give you a sense of purpose. Being that Sseko is a smaller company I get to have a larger role than the typical intern so already I feel very special! In the past I have connected with the company’s purpose or how they were founded. It shows you just how hard work and persistence can grow a company into something that is meaningful. Sseko has a strong background and we are reminded about the women in Uganda everyday. Above everyone’s desks in the office there are the companies motos or positive messages to keep them going throughout long days.
Say yes to opportunities
Making the most out of your internship means trying new things and seeing where your strengths are! You may have never worked with a program, but now is your time to make mistakes and learn to better yourself in the future. Use your favorite search engine if you need help along the way and DON’T be scared to ask questions. I had never used periscope (a more professional version of snapchat) and with a little bit of practice I was able to narrate 10 live videos.
Ask your mentor or manager how you can improve. If you did not meet expectations on a project ask them what they would have changed and set aside a meeting time to chat. Taking criticism can be hard for some people so remember it is not a personal attack on you, it is whatever you produced. Also be grateful to the people that hired you, many other people could have been chosen for this, but they picked YOU!
I absolutely love the other interns I work with and it is fun to come to work. We all connect in different ways and challenge each other in projects. This is an opportunity that you want to remember and could possibly end up working for the company so have FUN! Get some co- workers together and all go grab dinner after work, making friends makes work that much more enjoyable.