An Intern’s Guide to Advertising

WTA Summer Interns 2016

The last seven weeks have gone by in a blur. During our Walz Tetrick Advertising internship, we had specific departments and duties, but also a wide variety of projects. Each of us got to experience different clients among different industries with something new on our desks nearly every day.

Throughout the summer, we were often asked, “What have you learned so far that you want to share with each other?” This transformed into getting advice from different people within the agency and hearing what they’ve learned in their own careers. So for one final time, we’d like to share what we’ve learned at Walz Tetrick.

We learned about our departments. About techniques of the trade. And about the internal workings of an agency. Mostly though, all of our experiences added up to one thing: How to survive and thrive in advertising. While we still don’t consider ourselves experts in the subject, we did manage to complete the summer with our sanity intact and coffee addictions kept at bay. So please enjoy our newly formed list of survival skills.

NETWORK. Almost every person we got advice from this summer told us, “It’s about who you know.” It seems like everyone has a story about how they got a job from someone they knew. More than that, contacts may become clients or vendors, and those connections can be key.

FIND SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY. Some people knew exactly what they wanted to do from the beginning, and they’ve done it ever since. Others seem to have taken a longer, winding road to a career destination. The common lesson seemed to be that goals need to drive you in a career. Not necessarily the tangible kind, like a specific position by a certain age, but the kind that let you know if you’re on the right track. It’s important to remember that you’re working towards loving a certain work lifestyle. This includes not only your area of expertise, but your clients, agency culture and even what time you need to get up in the morning. This lesson has hit home for us, especially as we think more about future jobs.

BE FLEXIBLE. As interns, we do the work that needs to be done. Because this summer was so fast-paced (as we imagine advertising is all the time), we had new projects with different deadlines and priorities all the time. We learned how to manage our workload best by being flexible to ever-changing to-do lists. Through our own work and advice we were given, we can tell that flexibility will always be key to our jobs (especially when it comes to working with clients).

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR WORK. This didn’t just come from copywriters. It was something we heard throughout the summer. We learned to edit anything that would have eyes on it. This meant everything from simple emails to client work. Presenting ourselves, the agency, and the work in the best light starts at the very beginning.

MISTAKES ARE NORMAL. We made a few mistakes this summer and we’ll continue to make more. Luckily we learned from the mistakes we made and will continue to learn in the future. Our mentors taught us some of the lessons they learned from their own mistakes, including this important one: Life goes on no matter what. How we learn from and leverage mistakes, personally and professionally, is what matters most.