Every college student understands the importance of internships. Having valuable real world work experience gives you a leg up on other recent college grads when searching for your elusive first job. Every year, a few lucky seniors get full-time offers from the companies they interned for. I was one of those lucky few. After interning at The Castle Group as an events intern for a full year before graduating from Bentley University, the Best Marketing School in the United States as ranked by USA Today, I was fortunate enough to join the events team full-time. I was beyond excited to start working for one of the top corporate Event Management and Public Relations companies in Boston. Since the transition from college life to the real world is always difficult, I have developed a list of eight tips that helped me successfully transition from intern to employee.
- Adapt to Office Culture – Every office is different. It’s important to learn the ins and outs of your new workplace culture by taking cues from your coworkers. Pay special attention to the types of clothes they wear to work every day and what they talk about in the office. Some offices are more laid back and friendly while others are strictly professional. Internships can help you decide which kind of office culture fits you the best. I learned throughout my internship at Castle that I wanted to be a part of their culture. Here, the office is filled with talented professionals who are amazing at what they do, and everyone cares about each other on a personal level. We certainly strike a rare balance, which is one of the many reasons why we are one of the Best Places to Work in Boston.
- Know Yourself – Your first job is a chance for you to get to know yourself: how your brain works, how you stay organized, and what helps you to be the most productive. You want to make sure you are creating effective work habits in the beginning, and I have found one of the most helpful tools is my to-do-list. I prefer to keep a digital list, separated by client and then by event, with things that need to be done today, this week, and the following week – all differently color coded. No matter what your process, make sure you find systems that help you stay organized and on top of all your new responsibilities.
- Be a Sponge – Ask questions and absorb as much information as you can. If you are lucky enough to work at a place like Castle, your coworkers and managers really know their stuff. You have been given an opportunity to learn from the best, and the more you can acquire valuable experience and tricks of the trade, the quicker you can become successful in your new role.
- Own it – Your work is now your own. As an intern, you likely got one project at a time from your boss; you completed it, turned it in, and got another one. As a full-time member of the team, you have to take full responsibility for the work you turn in, as many of the projects are ongoing. Make sure you are proud of everything you do and are always focused and attentive to detail.
- Don’t Rush – Take your time. You’re no longer only in the office for a few days out of each week. You have the time to complete the work, so make sure you take full advantage. If you feel you need more time, either come into work early or stay late. It’s your responsibility to get things done by the deadline and submit the highest quality work possible.
- Earn Your Stripes – Trust from your colleagues and supervisors needs to be earned and established before being given any additional responsibilities. Once you prove that you are capable of handling the basics, your managers will feel comfortable giving you more important projects to work on.
- Have Confidence – While starting something new may be intimidating, you have to remind yourself that you were hired for a reason. Most importantly, have confidence that you are ready to learn from your coworkers and managers, and trust that you are where you are supposed to be.
- Aim High, Be Patient – While it’s important to set high career aspirations, it’s also important to be patient with yourself. Don’t get down on yourself if you aren’t the CEO by the time you turn 23. You are bound to make some mistakes; learn from them and make sure you don’t make the same mistake again. In the Public Relations and Event Management industries, the majority of skills come from experience: experience that you don’t have yet. With time, you will learn everything you need to know in order to be successful at your job, but experience can’t be forced. Be patient and trust that you will learn everything you need to know.
There are many reasons why Castle is consistently voted one of the best places to work in Boston. Each and every person who works here is amazing at what they do. I am honored to have the opportunity to learn from such knowledgeable and dedicated people. The Castle Group has welcomed me with open arms and I couldn’t be more excited to start my career as a member of their team.