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As graduation quickly approaches, the stress of finding an internship can feel impossible to manage. I get it. I just graduated in May and trust me that was on my mind constantly. When you factor in finding an internship that actually teaches you something and isn’t about getting coffee or putting a business on your resume, that’s when it starts to get harder.

My experience

When I set out to find an internship, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t really know where to start looking. After a few months of LinkedIn building, applications and several interviews, I found my way to a summer internship with SSDM. That’s when my career began to forge itself right before my eyes.

First month jitters

Internships can be scary, but overall they’re really insightful and helpful to your career. My first month at SSDM was full of training, which is exactly what you want in an internship. At first I was overwhelmed by the fact that it felt like I didn’t know anything. But as I dug deeper into the training, I started to learn how our company works and how the industry as a whole operates. I developed a confidence when discussing relevant web content and started to develop skills in other aspects of this business that I didn’t know were an option for me.

So … Indian food for lunch?

I wish I could say I can count on one hand how many times we’ve ordered Indian food, but I can’t. From the meditation periods on Thursdays to team outings to just all getting food together, the climate here made me feel like I had been here for years. It was the culture of SSDM that made the experience great. I felt like my ideas were valued and my input meant something even though I was just an intern.

Building relationships

The more comfortable I felt around my team, the more confident I was in myself as a digital marketer. I knew that if I needed help with something I could go to a number of different people and ask questions because we had already established a relationship. It was a really great feeling knowing I was learning so much about the digital space while also making strong connections with people who had been doing this for years.

Is it just me or do these people actually like me?

I accepted a full time position at SSDM right after my internship ended. I was overjoyed because I was able to stay with a company that had taught me so much. Making the transition from intern to full-time employee is different. But, as I’ve learned with most things, a thorough on-boarding process and ample amount of training hours really can help to make that transition as smooth as possible.

Hold on. Let me hop on my soapbox

I didn’t expect my internship to be as insightful as it actually was. Not only did I learn a ton about digital marketing, but I learned a lot about the hang-ups I have as a learner. If you are searching for an internship or even if you’re just looking around to get an idea, here are the best pieces of advice I can give to you:

Apply to everything that interests you.

      1. Even if you don’t have all the qualifications, still apply. They might see something in your resume that leads them to believe you’d be a good fit.

Keep organized.

      1. Whether it’s a spreadsheet or piece of paper, keep track of when you applied, when you reached out, if you got calls back, etc.

Don’t beat yourself up for not getting an internship.

      1. There will be other’s … just pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.

Be open and ready to learn.

      1. Flexibility is key to making your experience successful.

I thought my career path was going to be like something out of Mad Men except with more female empowerment (Peggy Olson is an amazing character). It wasn’t until my internship that I figured out that digital marketing was what I wanted to do. It was the combination of SSDM’s team culture, hours of training and the ability to find my niche in the digital space that solidified my decision to be a digital marketer. But regardless of where you are in your internship search, I promise it gets easier.

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