All an Intern Needs is a Positive Attitude and Hula Hooping Skills

Planit Agency
June 2, 2011


Will Fetchko joined Planit for one month this spring as an intern just before his high school graduation. The following is a blog post by Will about what he learned during his short time here… 

Earlier this year, my mom had been hassling me for over a week about choosing a place where I could do my senior work project. I’m about to graduate from the Friends School of Baltimore and a requirement of seniors is to fulfill a senior work project—either volunteering or interning somewhere of our choosing during the month of May. Looking at potential majors for college, I leaned toward marketing and advertising. I had also just finished my position as business editor for my school’s yearbook. I realized that I like to work with people, create ideas for publicizing companies, and have always grown up with the mentality of, “If you work hard, you play hard.” So I began my search for a fun marketing or advertising agency in Baltimore that would hire a newbie high school graduate.

The past two summers I had worked at a landscaping company in Pennsylvania in the lovely 100-degree heat. Sitting in the lobby of Planit I think it still felt like it was that hot. I was so nervous about my interview. Good thing my mom prepared me with some interview tips that kept me from sweating through my shirt:

10 Tips to help successfully land (and keep) an internship at an advertising or marketing agency:

1. MAKE A RÉSUMÉ: Even as a high school student you should have someone help you create a résumé. Throughout many job fields these days most people just want to see a sheet of paper that brags about all the things you’ve accomplished, your work experience, and what sets you apart from other graduates.

2. REMEMBER NAMES: Use a mnemonic device to remember names, especially the president(s)/co-founders’ names. For example, I went to Friends School, a private school, so I know other private schools. Planit’s co-founder Ed Callahan went to Calvert Hall and other co-founder Matt Doud went to Loyola. Just little ways to connect to and remember names will help.

3. BE ON TIME: I almost forgot; this is probably the most important thing to do when going to an interview. And from experience I’ll say being 30 minutes early is NEVER A BAD THING.

4. ATTIRE: Wear appropriate attire for the interview and for when you start your internship. Pull out the nice casual shoes and button-down for the week, and save the t-shirt with the sexual innuendo on it for Summer Fridays or a weekend gathering.

5. FOLLOW UP: Even though it may seem annoying that your mom or dad nags you to follow up the interview with a thank you email, just do it. It always shows that you are polite, professional, and that you are very interested in the internship.

6. Once in an internship…RESPECT THE SYSTEM: Don’t come walking in the first day thinking you’re the shit because you got this awesome internship. Hell, the first day I worked I was scared to leave my desk or eat lunch! Always lie low and figure out the “unwritten code” of the office and then you can let yourself have one, and I only mean one, swear word a day.

7. IT’S FOR YOU: The company’s not paying you, at least in my internship, so take advantage of everything. Put yourself out there, the worst they can do is say is no (or make you walk outside with long pants and long sleeves on to see what movie someone is filming in the 95-degree heat). Ask someone if you can sit in on a client phone call, be a part of the process of creating ideas, sit in on a client meeting, or even attend a meeting at the clients’ headquarters. But always remember number 6, if you’re in a client meeting, RESPECT THE SYSTEM. This means that even if you have a sick idea, you shouldn’t talk unless talked to. You are the intern who may be sitting at the table, but you’re actually a fly on the wall. Take notes about everything and then tell your ideas to the account executive/creative director after the clients leave. In most situations, your ideas will only help them in creating something for the client.

8. BE CONFIDENT: The company hired you as an intern so they must have seen some potential in you. Be proud of the work you do, whether it’s behind-the-scenes research, a creative slogan that the director likes, or all the other little things you may end up doing as an intern.

9. ALWAYS hula-hoop: You may look like a fool, but you are the intern. Don’t worry; everybody’s been there at some point in their careers. My advice: Just have fun trying to do something athletic that you were never really good at. (In your case it might not be hula-hooping, but something similar and wacky). 

10. HAVE FUN: Join in the conversation/fun time/happy hour (unless you’re under 21, lucky me!) and just enjoy your time being an intern before you look at the calendar and realize you only have 3 days left. Wah!