For the first post for this Intern Life Transition Series, I was very honored to interview Kimberly Lucio as she is currently working her first full-time job at Walker Sands Communications as a full-time interactive marketing specialist.
Kimberly has had three extremely valuable internships where she got real-world experience and learned more than what the textbooks teach. She was a public relations intern at Noreen Heron and Associates, a research assistant at the Chicago Tribune and a marketing and social media intern at Walker Sands Communications.
“At Heron PR, I worked with the PR account executives to build media lists, assemble press kits, and pitch to the media in the theater and dining industries. With the Chicago Tribune, I worked with features editor Lou Carlozo to research story ideas, edit copy, and I sat in on editorial staff meetings. As an intern with Walker Sands Communications, I worked in marketing and social media strategy. My daily tasks here included SEO analysis, content writing/editing, website design changes and social media monitoring,” Kimberly said.
Kimberly said the top three most valuable things she learned from her internship were:
- It’s not close to what the textbooks say. It’s similar to learning an instrument by just reading books on it. Until you have the instrument in your hand, you can’t see what it is really like, or experience the entire idea of it. That being said, you can read 100 textbooks on what the world of PR/marketing is like, but when you see it firsthand, it all is viewed in a new light. The scenarios you are put into teach you more than any paper you could write, so be prepared to take notes and learn from every person you can!
- Nobody’s perfect. I always assumed that the real world pro’s knew everything. Fact of the matter is, you will find almost everyone around you gets put into situations that sometimes they need help with. Whenever I saw co-workers get stressed out about something, I also observed the way they handled the situation and how they learned from it. Realizing that everyone makes mistakes and gets stressed with deadlines will help you ease the stress of being an intern and the feeling that you don’t know as much as everyone around you.
- The little things teach you the most. While I would sit in on conference calls and conversations with clients, I found that just observing the way my co-workers spoke to clients taught me a lot. Also, noting the style of conversation in e-mails, notes, and agendas that were given to me taught me the proper style of communicating in a professional setting.
I also asked her what interns could do to stand out in their internship. She answered:
As an intern, you might feel that you are asking too many questions on tasks and projects. My advice to interns would be to ask as many questions as you need to. Never feel like you need to do a task completely on your own if you aren’t sure on something – your boss will appreciate you asking and doing it right instead of guessing and doing it wrong.
Another tip of advice – go the extra mile. Get in the state of mind that you are already a full-time employee. If you think about your internship this way, you will want to put more of your passion into it. Make sure all of your co-workers have what they need before you leave for the day. They will like that you are making sure you have done all the tasks you needed to.
My final question for Kimberly was about difficulties she experienced when transferring from an intern to actual job position. Kimberly said, “I would say the most difficult thing about the transition from being an intern to being a full time employee is the difference in state of mind. While you’re an intern, you are still in college, and you have classes and other things to focus on outside of your internship. When you move to a full-time position, that job becomes your main focus and you have to leave the college state of mind behind you.”
How should we deal with this difficulty and state of mind? Kimberly advises interns to talk to people who are at the same time in their own lives throughout the transition. She also said that learning together and understanding what your new priorities are will help you through the process!
Kimberly has been very successful after her internships and we can all take away good advice from her, especially about not being afraid to ask questions and going the extra mile.