We’ve all been in situations before where we felt out of the loop…
…completely under qualified, or just plain lost. In many ways, this is how I felt after being assigned my first main project at SkEye. The task at hand: design and create a landing page for our Millennial Marketing campaign. Armed with a novice-level understanding of website building, and an example landing page design from SkEye’s digital media director Maggie, I timidly began my assignment. As lost as I felt at the beginning of the project, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I was able to create in the following days. There’s definitely something to be said about diving in head first without learning to swim first. At first, I was shocked by the amount of confidence the SkEye employees had in my ability to complete such an unfamiliar task. But that’s the beauty of working at SkEye: everyone has as much confidence in the interns as they do in themselves.
(You can check out the finished landing page I created for our Millennial Marketing campaign here!)
As someone who has aspirations to start her own business in the future…
…it is incredibly insightful to experience startup culture first hand. The full time employees at SkEye Studios are very intentional in their commitments to keep the work environment fun, productive, and inspiring. Every morning during our stand up meetings, each individual has the opportunity to discuss their objectives for the day and ask for any help they might need. We laugh together, eat together, fail together, and succeed together. Everyone’s opinion is welcomed, and everyone’s voice is heard. As an intern, it’s incredibly empowering to have my unique ideas taken just as seriously as the full time employees. It’s been so rewarding to join a group of individuals who genuinely want to see me succeed and are willing to support and teach without hindering my creativity by telling me exactly what to do. SkEye has given me the opportunity to be a project lead, voice my creative input, and be an active participant in the creation of digital media for clients and in-house purposes.
It takes a great deal of bravery to open your work to a group of strangers…
…and I can’t thank the SkEye team enough for their willingness to be vulnerable in welcoming us into their world. If there was one thing that was made clear from the very beginning at SkEye, it was that us interns were going to be treated as equals. Instead of viewing our level of expertise and experience as less significant than the full time SkEye team, Chris wanted to create an environment where the interns felt their unique knowledge was valued and heard. The collaborative mindset at SkEye that values everyone’s contribution is ultimately what leads to the creation of such incredible content.
In just three short weeks I’ve had the opportunity to learn new skills in videography, website development, and Adobe Creative Cloud applications. SkEye is truly an intern’s dream. Our mentors are beyond willing to help, and their enthusiasm for their work is highly contagious. I never thought I’d say this but I genuinely enjoy waking up at 6:45 every morning, and that’s only because I know each day at SkEye I will be challenged to learn something new and develop my own creative voice. I’m not sure where my future career path will lead, but I know my short time at SkEye has already made me a more knowledgeable, confident and qualified individual.
My short time at SkEye has taught me a lot about what it takes to make an internship successful. So from the perspective of a very happy intern:
Here are my best pieces of advice to companies designing their own intern programs.
1. Have more confidence in your interns than they have in themselves
Chances are, your interns will be hesitant to contribute at first as they question the extent of their own abilities and knowledge. If you want access to all that wonderful insight they have bottled inside, make them feel wanted and instill in them a sense of importance by involving them in important decisions and truly listening to their perspective on things. There’s nothing more encouraging as an intern than to have your voice genuinely heard.
2. Encourage exploration
Don’t make your interns be confined to their areas of study or expertise. Allow them to pursue opportunities beyond the scope of their personal knowledge if they so wish to do so. One of my favorite parts of the SkEye intern program is that opportunities are made available to all interns, regardless of our previous experience. If I want to get involved with a project that requires a skill I don’t currently have, one or more of the SkEye team members is happy to invest their own time teaching me.
3. Let your interns sit in the driver's seat
Guaranteed, your interns will be more productive (and a lot happier) if they are working on projects they are passionate about. Give them the chance to define their own parameters and listen to their own creative voice before telling them exactly what to do. Interns are way more invested when they have ownership over their own work.
4. Check in often
More than likely, if your intern is struggling, they’ll want to figure it out on their own before asking for help. People are often stubbornly resistant to ask for help, especially if they want to impress those around them. So make sure you’re having real, honest conversations about where your interns are finding success and where they could use some help. Most interns are excited to hear from a professional and would love to know what you think about what they’re doing.
Internships are awesome opportunities for students AND employers. While interns may not have the same level of knowledge or experience as full-time employees, their unique background and perspective can prove to be invaluable. So listen to your interns, empower them with opportunities they wouldn’t get elsewhere, and instill in them a new sense of confidence to pursue their dreams.
Written by Marisa Reid
Marisa, a Junior at Gonzaga University, is one of five talented interns joining the SkEye Studios team for the summer. She is a talented writer with a big imagination for marketing and has aspirations to one day start her own company.