Hey y’all, we’re here to give you a crash course on interning in digital.
Below you’ll find a detailed explanation of how to make copies and brew a mean cup of coffee…Just kidding! Instead we wanted to pass down a few lessons we learned while interning at RTI. Full disclosure: both of us were new to digital before this internship and we’d like to say we’ve got a pretty good grip on things now, so fear not: If we can do it you can too!
1. In digital: The devil is in the details
Do you consider yourself a detail-oriented person? You certainly will after a few months of working in digital. In politics, data can be your best friend — but only if it’s precise. Make it a habit to double- (and sometimes triple-) check things. And don’t be afraid to ask a co-worker to look over something with a fresh set of eyes. It’s an easy excuse to talk to other people for those of you who are averse to networking!
2. Politics: It’s an art AND science
One of the oldest jokes that we hear (and are tired of hearing) when we tell people we work in politics is: “Is that because you stink at math?” People think of political types as “having the gift of gab.” Communication is obviously essential in politics, but data is just as important — especially in digital. Digital politics is an art AND a science. So no matter your strengths, we promise there is a spot in the digital club for you!
3. EXCEL, EXCEL, EXCEL!
Excel is one of the most useful tools out there. It can be a little intimidating, but don’t worry. Can you use Excel to make a grocery list or a chart of some kind? Maybe to keep a budget? That’s a great start! You’ll most likely be using Excel to track all sorts of metrics that make digital such a useful tool in the first place. If you can, find an Excel workshop to go to and pick up some more advanced tricks. The more comfortable you are working in Excel, the better.
4. Get to know the people you work with
The people that you work with are the best at what they do. They’re in digital because they love it and because they’re good at it. You can learn a lot just by paying attention to what the people around you are doing. Whether you’re looking for the scoop on a great brunch spot or looking for career advice in the future, your coworkers are good people to know.
5. Don’t be afraid to try (lots of) new things
Don’t worry if you’re new to digital — it’s a fascinating field that’s changing all the time. The secret is to jump in it head first. Start actually reading those fundraising emails that you usually delete or click through some ads on Facebook. Look for things that catch your eye and you’ll start to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. You might even be surprised at what catches your interest.
So there you have it, now you know (approximately) everything there is to know about being a stellar digital intern — or at least more than you knew before reading this blog. Remember, there’s something for everyone. Don’t be afraid to dive in.