“Dream big. Start small. Act now.” How cliche of me to start a post with an inspirational quote about success, right? You would think that after the countless number of college english classes I’ve taken and all the daunting papers I’ve mustered through, I would have learned how to come up with a better hook. Well the joke is on you, my hook was actually talking about how I don’t know how to come up with a hook. Now that I’ve got your attention, that silly quote is actually a great segue into the mindset of an intern, and why working for a small company is more beneficial than one can really explain until they’ve experienced it for themselves.
Receiving a college education is a priceless experience that should not be taken for granted, but all the PR and Marketing classes in availability can’t fully prepare you for the hurricane that is the business world. The following statement isn’t meant to be an insult on my classmates, but I must say that it is astonishing that there are so many communication and PR majors that attain little to no skill in the art of communicating well. I consider myself to be an above-average communicator, but it wasn’t until I was faced with my first real PR project for a big client that I learned that instinct and natural skill are huge pieces of being successful in this industry.
The fact that I can even sit here and write about handling a PR project for a client as an intern is huge in itself, and I can honestly say it is not something I expected I would be doing had you asked me a month ago. My original plan was to spend the summer in New York City where I would be interning for a large company, but plans never fully came together. When I realized that my glamorous summer in the Big Apple wasn’t going to come to fruition, I decided that I would interview for an intern spot at a smaller, more local agency in my home state of Colorado. At first, I wasn’t sure I was willing to trade the glitz and the glam of a New York internship for something smaller and more intimate, but my mind quickly changed. A month into my internship at Silver Spur Marketing under the direction of Bradley Joseph, I can truthfully state that it was the best business decision that I could have made in this situation.
I think that all young professionals have a vision for themselves and their career, and if said vision doesn’t pan out exactly how they thought it would, they convince themselves they have failed. We have all been taught for the entirety of our adolescent years that you should “dream big” and “shoot for the stars” but nobody ever really told us that in order to get to those highly sought after stars, you have to be willing to climb up a pretty big ladder.
Let me make something very clear; working for a small agency does not mean that what you will be working on is small. In fact, a lot of the clients that I have been working alongside with are extremely influential in the market that we focus on. I anticipated a summer full of stapling papers and organizing files, when in reality I am sitting in on every meeting, with my superiors allowing me to voice my opinions and ideas freely. Within my first week, I was assigned to create a press release for the Bentley Denver Charity Polo Series, a task that I had only ever practiced a few times in school. My boss, Bradley was fully trusting in my skills and that I would use my resources effectively and come up with something that would not disappoint. His confidence in me allowed me to create something that not only we were both very happy with, but the client as well.
Reflecting on the first month of my internship with Silver Spur, I can already say that I have garnered more experience than I could have ever hoped for and in turn my portfolio has grown tenfold. My time with a small agency has given me the ability to express to future employers that I have had real work experience and I have been trusted with real project responsibilities. My skills are continuing to increase as I am exposed to more of this industry, and I am grateful for the opportunity that Silver Spur Marketing has given me to grow.
If I can offer one piece of advice to those looking for internships, I would say that choosing to start with a smaller agency is extremely beneficial to the bigger picture of your career. The opportunity to work for a more intimate company means the potential to have more responsibility, and quicker. If your end game is to work for a large agency, than interning for a smaller agency and obtaining real experience will make you stand out to those in charge of hiring. I am quickly learning that big things happen when you learn to be really good at the little things. So, here’s to a summer of the little things that, in the end, propel you to the bigger things.