An Intern’s Perspective: 3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Digital Marketing Internship
July 19, 2022
Dorothy Teo joined Finn Partners Singapore as a Digital Marketing Intern in February 2022 and has since converted to a full-time permanent role. Here is a retrospective look at her internship journey, the challenges she met along the way, and the lessons learnt thus far.
For a fresh graduate like myself, transitioning into work life is as exciting as it is daunting. Burdened with the expectation of joining the workforce already equipped with the right skill sets, I was looking forward to my internship at Finn Partners Singapore as a step towards honing my skills.
In all honesty, I started my stint as a digital marketing intern with a fair amount of trepidation. We have all encountered stories of interns grappling with menial tasks and finishing their internship without learning anything or being truly challenged. I was initially worried that my internship, too, would end in the same way: carrying out humdrum tasks and taking it on the chin.
Fortunately, with the support I received from my team, I was able to own my internship experience and explore various areas of interest and growth. By working closely with my colleagues, not only were my initial concerns allayed, I also managed to carve out many learning opportunities along the way.
As I approach the end of my internship, here are my observations and key learnings:
1. Learn to be proactive
While this might seem obvious, I think it’s still worth highlighting the importance of being proactive: proactive workers find that it’s well worth the effort and achieve more satisfaction in their work. The reason? They tend to take on projects of interest and gain developmental opportunities.
In hindsight, I realise that I acquire knowledge faster by being proactive—volunteering for work tasks where I am most interested in, and making an extra effort to ask the right questions on areas where I have no prior knowledge.
A good case-in-point was my first attempt at writing Google Responsive Search Ads (RSA). The very first question I had was: “What is RSA copywriting to begin with?”
Thankfully, my colleague was able to provide useful pointers and guided me throughout the process. I learnt how to focus on the key areas in a client brief, which allowed me to stay on target and address specific client requests through the content we delivered.
As I collaborated closely with my colleagues, I discovered new ways to keep the ad copy succinct, experimented with A/B copy variations, and analysed how prospects were engaging with the ads to optimise the campaign.
But how does one manage the additional workload that comes with being more proactive? That brings me to my next point—the importance of prioritisation.
2. Learn how to prioritise
From the very first day of my internship, one of the things I immediately noticed was the fast-paced environment of an agency. Prioritisation is pivotal for everyone in the team to cope with a variety of pressing work demands.
When rolling out different marketing projects for different clients, there will be many occasions that call for immediate actions and attention. For instance, in response to a client’s feedback on how a campaign was performing, I worked immediately with the marketing operations team to optimise the campaign for better results. This was necessary to ensure the campaign met the client’s expectations within the campaign duration.
So how does one manage and prioritise effectively? Here’s what I learnt:
Consider the effort needed to complete the task and its impact on performance. The way I see it, try to complete “low effort, high impact” tasks first. Here’s how: When I’m editing a content piece, reading through the content once to quickly check for grammar and flow of writing allows me to dedicate more time to refine specific points later.
Additionally, adopt the practice of notetaking to list down all key tasks and rank them by importance with notetaking tools. Having an organised and up-to-date list is useful for reviewing your tasks, setting realistic timelines, and gaining control of your workload.
3. Learn to communicate effectively
Each member of the Digital and Insights team at Finn Partners Singapore takes charge of a particular aspect of digital marketing, such as performance, content, or operations. With team collaboration being the key to success, we all need to be accountable for the work we commit ourselves to. However, you wouldn’t want to spread yourself too thin by juggling too many tasks at once.
Saying “No” to your manager or co-workers might be uncomfortable but saying “Yes” all the time leaves you stretched and stressed. Besides, I learnt through my own experience that constantly acceding to requests and overwhelming yourself with work impacts not only work quality, but your mental wellness too.
When you need to turn down an assignment, communicating effectively with your co-workers prevents misunderstandings.
Check out these examples:
Working overtime: “Thanks for thinking of me. While I’d like to help, I have other commitments that can’t be moved. So, I won’t be able to [request].”
Tasks outside your job scope and capabilities: “Unfortunately, I’m not trained and familiar with [request], so I’m afraid I won’t be of much help.”
Unrealistic deadlines: “I hear that you would like this by [deadline]. But with other projects we have going on, it won’t be possible. Can I get this back to you by [day] instead?”.
An internship is the golden growth opportunity for graduates stepping into the workforce. Showing proactiveness, knowing how to prioritise, and finding ways to communicate effectively can help you build trusting relationships with co-workers and consistently deliver high-quality work. Apart from technical skills, these soft skills are valuable in the workplace and would help to pave a path towards your dream job.