Intern Help Guide Week 7: Interning FAQs ❓

A couple of weeks ago, I asked on my social media (@tkhoub + @isanyonereallylistening) what burning questions people had about internships. I wanted to take the time to answer them in this intern help guide week 7 that I think would benefit you guys through into your internship.

I am a few weeks off on this series because my internship has been super demanding, I’ve been moving, and just a lot has been happening in my personal life. Also, I did a complete rebranding. A post on that is coming very shortly.

If you are new to this series on my blog, hello and welcome. I curated this intern help guide to help anyone going through an internship right now. This is made by an intern for other interns. I have interned in the fin-tech, start-up, and corporate space for the past few years.

Below you will find some of my previous posts about my internship experience. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Intern Help Guide Week 6: Networking 

Intern Help Guide Week 5 👩🏽‍💻 Soft Skills They Don’t Tell You About

Intern Help Guide Week 4 🤷🏽‍♀️ Is a “work-life balance” achievable?

Intern Help Guide Week 2-3 ⚡️ Things Get Easier

“When should people start looking and applying to internships?”

I’m not a recruiter or hiring manager so every company looks different. Most companies like to start their hiring process EARLY, like, August early. I typically start looking for 10-15 companies I am interested in learning more about a week into my school semester. I have applied to companies who don’t start looking to hire interns until January. But a good time frame to start is August-October. Decisions usually get sent out before or during the holidays. Look for internships based on the role, not the company itself. There are amazing companies out there that may not be the right fit for you. You want to consider the role, the company’s culture/mission, the location, compensation. Have an idea of a role then look at different companies that provide that. It may be the big names or it may not be. Don’t limit yourself because it’s all about getting that real-world experience.

“What is the best way to stand out in an internship?”

Come into your internship ready to learn and grow. Showing genuine interest in your team and work will really help you stand out. Being curious to learn new things, meet new people, and networking with other people in the company shows your passion for the work that you’re doing. Not every aspect of the role is going to be fun. That’s true with anything. You won’t like every class but it’s important to keep in mind that you are here for 10-12 weeks. Make a lasting impression. Be present, be adaptable, and be teachable. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. You are in a professional environment but you can still be an individual. You come to the table with a fresh set of eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re lost.

“What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an intern?”

I think one of the things I have been struggling with is feeling like I have to know it all. I don’t want to look dumb or incapable of doing something but there is a lot of new stuff that I know nothing about. There are some expectations your managers have but they do not expect you to know everything right off the bat. Knowing that you will make mistakes and are there to learn has really helped me ground myself. Be open to learning new things. I faced an imposter syndrome too. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be here and that someone else who is smarter or goes to an Ivy league school deserves this more than I do. I had to take a second to identify what I can add. But remember, you are there for a reason. There’s a reason they picked you and be appreciative of every learning moment you get to experience.  You deserve to be in this role and you are doing great.

“I did an internship. Now what?”

To be completely honest this is what I think about a lot. Take time to reflect on the entire experience. What did you learn from this? How did you grow? What did it teach you? and thinking about how you can apply it back to your role as a student or in your next job? You learn about what you like and don’t like about role as you go through the entire experience. Figure out if you see yourself working in that company or a similar role. Apply that awareness when looking at next internships or opportunities. After your internship, maintain contact with some of the people that really stuck out to you. Connect with them on LinkedIn so you know where they’re going and they can see you too

“How do I remain productive when things get boring?” 

Like I said above, you won’t always love what you do. But take every opportunity (yes, even the boring ones) as a chance to learn something. You’re there for a limited time so tough it out. If you consistently aren’t given work you are excited about, have a conversation with your manager of some of the expectations you had going into the internship and some of the areas you want to explore. I’ve been given work where I had to pull data from jumbled up files. It was super tedious, boring, and frustrating but it’s apart of the job. With any role or task, there will be things you won’t enjoy. You’re an intern so you’ll be given “intern” work. People will send you stuff that seems boring or useless but do the work the best way you know how to. If you already have a lot on your plate be honest and say something like “Thank you for considering me for this task, however, I am working on x, y, and z and I need to finish this first”. Learning how to manage your time effectively will help balance your work.

I hope you found this interesting. I will be going on Instagram Live very soon to talk more about these questions and answer any others that you may have.

What I’ve Learned From: April

Woah.. that was fast. I feel like there was a time between March and April because the two months couldn’t be more different. In March, I was in a completely different headspace. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then feel free to catch up What I’ve Learned From: March. My priorities in March differ from my priorities this month but in my life, they both were built upon each other.

In the past month, 3 really important things have happened.

  • I’ve learned to take care of myself in such a way where I take ownership of what I do and who I choose to do it with. I am aware of the areas that I am limited in as well but choose not to let that stop me. 
  • Professionally, things have been positive to say the very least.
  • I’ve strengthed important relationships that will carry with me in the next chapter of my life and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

It’s crazy to me how a perspective change can relieve so much pressure. I was in a place of preset expectations by what I thought other people wanted to be but now I’m unapologetically me. It’s liberating. It wasn’t easy and definitely not overnight but as my therapist, Ernest, says: love is a set of reinforcing behaviors. I have been practicing active self-love and that has translated into other areas of my life. I’ve shed any thought that I need to be something because someone else chooses not to accept me. That has propelled me to be stronger in the next chapter of my life: moving to Charlotte. This move is coming a lot faster than I thought. I leave the comfort of almost 4 years in a few days to start a completely different set of challenges, opportunities, and relationships.

I was really tested this month. Tested in how much I can be aware of how I react in response to what someone may think. For example, there was a day where I felt so beautiful in my skin. I’m a little tan now, mustard yellow is having its moment, and when you have an eating disorder feeling comfortable in clothes that are a few sizes too big is rare. When I had a day of that I was met with some comments by someone who had every intention to break me down. It was so trivial and normally, I would let it get to me. But instead, I chose to still feel beautiful. We choose how we let other people affect us. Don’t give someone else the power to change how you think you are because they’re too blind to see it. 

The difference between this month and last was that I struggled with taking the ownership of things I was doing to myself and others. I am limited in a lot of ways in what I am capable of doing but that doesn’t make me a bad person. It’s not good or bad it just is. Just because I choose to eat certain foods and stick to a strict diet doesn’t mean I can’t eat or I hate food. In fact, I love food but I refuse to force myself to an uncomfortable point where I feel awful about myself. Will I eat a cheeseburger tomorrow? No, but whatever I am eating is a lot better than what I chose to eat in the past. I’m just limiting myself to a place where I can feel comfortable with doing something that was such a challenge for me. For me, that’s growth. I was able to be aware of what I am doing and not doing. Taking onus of it and choosing to practice that with my own food has been a big factor in my overall health. I feel better at fueling my body, which means I feel better about myself because I am taking care of myself. I will be open about my journey through this because I think even if you don’t have an eating disorder you can gain something from this.

Another major difference is that I am really accepting what I am doing as being something of value. What I mean is that I see how much value I have and what I can bring to a situation. Professionally, I am able to see the fruits of my labor more directly. But personally, the relationships that I have been growing are more deliberate and intentional. I do what I need to do to take care of myself and as a result, I can be more present and active in those relationships. Everything about where I am right now is different than what I am used to because I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t doing what I needed to do to feel like myself. Apart of that goes back to feeling like who I was wasn’t enough. When it was and it is. Now, I just don’t settle for what someone else thinks I should/shouldn’t be. I’m me now instead of trying to be someone that needed to be wanted. As long as I love myself, can take care of myself, and accept myself that’s enough for me. If someone can’t accept that or embrace it, I don’t let it bother me. We all have choices. 

Everything you are searching for in your life whether that be love, being wanted, being heard, anything at all starts with you. No one or nothing can offer you that other than you. If you can’t provide that basic love for yourself no one else will know how to. Maybe this sounds super cliche but to me, it’s so important because I looked at so many external outlets for my own happiness, security, and stability when really I had it all within me. I didn’t need anyone else to provide that because I am able to do it myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t need someone else to offer me joy. They do but I know that I can take care of myself. Ernest calls it self-regulation: put the oxygen mask on yourself first then try to help someone else put theirs on. I am now able to self-regulate better. I’m not perfect. It’s been a process but again, reinforcing behaviors.

This was revealed to me when I was beginning to rebrand my blog. If you haven’t noticed my logo is different. In the past, I didn’t have one to begin with. I thought I needed a team or a branding expert to help me but one day, I sat down and spent a few hours working on it. It was a challenge to explain what I was and what I liked to someone else. I knew the type of look I wanted to go for. I wanted it to reflect me: refined, beautiful, and millennial. I created it myself and it was so empowering. I’m pretty sure I cried because I thought I needed someone else. Not to say I won’t ever ask for help because I know there is a lot I don’t know and I am okay with that. I got feedback and I made sure it made sense but for something like branding it has to reflect you. AND NO ONE KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOU. I was able to translate that and even helped someone else with their branding. I honestly love to brand and make stuff. I was able to be creative. It felt really good knowing that I did something for myself that helped me grow. Thank you to everyone who has reached out and offered the feedback. 

Also: YA GIRL IS MOVING TO CHARLOTTE THIS WEEK. WHAT. WHO LET THAT HAPPEN? Oh yeah, ME!

Moving falls at a very interesting time and maybe I’ll address it from the things I’ll learn in May but for now, it’s a very important time. I’ve taken the time to sit with it all and for the first time in awhile, the future doesn’t intimidate me. There are so many wonderful and challenging things that are on the other side of fear (@willsmith paraphrasing your quote). I usually get super anxious about moving but I am so grounded in myself that I know regardless of the trials and tribulations, I will find a way to be okay with myself. Knowing that I get to share this next chapter of my life with someone who is also going through it is comforting. I’m very lucky to be where I am right now and I am soaking up every ounce of it because I know what it feels like to not accept what I’m doing and who I am. Now that I do, I feel called to grow in my own light.  I’m excited to embrace the newness and the difference of May.

More to come…stay tuned. – T.

Social Media: The New Marketplace

Check me out on Charlotte Consulting Group where I am a data analyst, content creator, and technology consultant. Stay on top of the LATEST tech news at charlotteconsultinggroup.com

Let’s face it, online shopping is the way most people shop. Most people also love to use social media as a way to learn more about smaller brands that aren’t as popular. We like to follow brands on social media that we shop from, connect with, or even newer ones that we may be interested in. As a smaller business, don’t let this scare you. This is your chance to shine!

If you already use social media to market your company, you can do the same by treating social media as another marketplace. A picture is worth a thousand words and your customers shop with their eyes. You can display pictures of your latest products and services to attract new customers to your site. Have fun and be creative! People are looking to see your unique products.

Keep in mind that your customers will typically shop similar to their friends or followers. By promoting your products on social media you are able to tap into the people behind the followers as well. By treating your social media platform as an online store, your customers have faster access to you and your merchandise. Not to mention, your customers can access you faster! You can speak directly towards customers who have service complaints, need updates on their orders, or are curious about your array of products.

Most social media platforms have tools you can use to promote your company within their platform. You can use paid advertising to get to reach a broader customer base too. If your product stands out it could go viral which means big returns on that investment. Try commenting back on your pictures or commenting on other brands that are related to yours.