Welcome to the second round of the Intern Files. Allow me to introduce myself: the name’s Sarah Beacom, and as a current UNT student and one of two Atomic Design & Consulting summer interns, I hope to fill the impressive shoes left by the talented Lindsay Madura. My hope is to shed light on the ins and outs of interning in the realm of social media.

Internships don’t have to be intimidating or tiresome. The whole “everyone gets coffee for people at some point in their life” theory doesn’t always have to ring true, and you can gain more than a simple bullet point for your resume if you pay attention and are passionate about the work you’re doing. Internships are not only about building your resume for your future career path, but they’re also a valuable experience in showing you what you may not know about the field you’ve chosen. Although I am a Broadcast Journalism major, I am learning each day at Atomic just how much I love social media, and gaining hope that I may have found my calling. I thought it would only be fair to extend my knowledge to you readers, in hopes that, whether you are a current or hopeful intern, college student, or full-time employee in the workforce, you may learn to take note of the things going on around you, because the truth is that we learn something every day when we are working, whether it be big or small. Let’s take a look at what I have learned thus far.

Present yourself in a professional, positive manner. This includes when sending an email, when answering phones, your physical appearance, and your online, social media appearance. The only way to demand respect from strangers is to have enough respect for yourself to act in a dignified manner. Use proper grammar and courtesy towards individuals on the line when answering a call and relaying their message. When it comes to your social media appearance, think of it in this light: would I be comfortable with my client seeing this? Never post anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with strangers (including those that relate directly back to your work) seeing. This has been said countless times by other people, but you would be surprised at how many inappropriate pictures and statuses I see posted on networks like Facebook and Twitter. Always play it safe. If what you’re saying isn’t positive, chances are you probably shouldn’t post it. Negativity will always come back to get you in one way or another.

Always use professional etiquette, even in emails. This goes beyond the daily routine at the office. Email etiquette starts from the moment you submit your resume. Whether you know the person you are speaking with, or know that the company has a laid-back atmosphere, it is always a safe call to use an appropriate subject line, a salutation, proper grammar, and proper closing when emailing an prospective employer or a current coworker. The reason being that emails can be CC’d to an individual higher up, who may not find slang writing attractive. The email may also be tacked on to a string of emails sent to a client. The best way to look at it is this: would you be comfortable sending this email to your boss’ boss? If the answer is no, go back and tweak your email before you send it.

Never be afraid to ask questions. In high school I used to dread when the teacher would call my name at random to answer a question. In college, I dreaded even asking questions in front of the many strange faces seated around me. But, when I sat down to work on my first day at Atomic DC, I soon learned that it was much better to ask questions and be sure of what I’m doing than to stay quiet and try to guess at it. While being inquisitive can seem bothersome, it shows that you are genuinely interested in learning about the tasks you are given, and completing them to the best of your ability without mistakes. It’s OK to ask questions, so long as you remember the answer to that question and learn from it.

Be passionate and have fun. Though put last, this is the most important thing to remember and put into practice during an internship, workday, and during life in general. An internship is a learning experience. You are going to get up early, you are going to be given several various tasks daily, and you are going to have to work to get everything done in a timely manner (with creative content, no less). It is work, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun. Besides being interested in social media in general, the number one reason I couldn’t wait to come work at Atomic DC was when Atomic’s very own Tiffany Michaelis told me that the work environment at Atomic is very fun and laid-back. She stressed how the team works together and discusses ideas freely and openly for the benefit of the company. I knew that working in a place where I could offer ideas and have them considered would be perfect for me, and only grow the passion I already have for the digital marketing world. The more positive your attitude during the work day, the more likely you are to be productive. The more productive you are, the more likely you are to be noticed and remembered in a good way with the company. As an intern, this can be crucial down the line when it comes to applying for another job. Never forget that actions you make now will have consequences in the future!

While these four topics seem so simple, they are key essentials as an intern in any workplace. The simple rules are just as important, and will lead you towards mastering those big learning steps later on.

Every day is a learning day. So, what did you learn today? Feel free to share your daily wisdom in a comment below!

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By Sarah Beacom
Sarah is a Social Media Strategist at Atomic Design & Consulting.

Atomic’s offices are located just north of Dallas, Texas in Plano. Sarah is a blogger, foodie, and brand advocate.

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