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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Having trouble getting more out of my internship

Having trouble getting more out of my internship

Hello Jancy,
I’ve been working really hard towards getting an AD internship in a good agency and was ecstatic to have gotten it.
I’ve been with the agency for over a month and seem to spend more time looking for work than working. It is a busy agency with a lot of creatives working over time and I feel bad working on my own stuff. I repeatedly ask around for work but most of the time no one has anything for me to do and I have more dead days than working days.
I know that the internship is what you make of it but there seems to be a fine line between making it work and annoying my CDs by stalking them in the hallways. I would really like to show initiative but it’s hard when I have to search for nearly every working opportunity.
Thank you for your advice!

intro Having trouble getting more out of my internshipA lot of agencies offer internships but don’t actually think through how to get the most out of their interns. The executive creative director should have coached the seniors in the department to tap you to generate ideas or even observe on key projects, in addition to turning to you for helping hands getting the everyday stuff done. We throw interns in the deep end and make sure they have some opportunities on major projects; those fresh eyes often mean unexpected solutions and we’ve always had a payoff for it, including major awards. So, your shop is blowing chances to up their game.

You’re doing the right thing, being proactive. The next step would be to approach the ECD to flag your concern you don’t have much to do. Where the next level down is not taking advantage of what you could be doing, the ECD would be truly odd to ignore your raised hand. It’s in their best interest to have you take some pressure off senior people if nothing else. If you continue to have time on your hands, approach account directors to learn about accounts that interest you. Ask them to give you spec assignments based on real business problems/opportunities. Then get feedback from senior creatives on your ideas. This could demonstrate to them why they should be thinking to give you projects, and help you build your book even as they skip you for their work. You can’t lose by working on your book.

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  • Voiteque

    agree with Jancy. I have gone through quite a few internships by now and can frankly say that my whole book (even tho it’s all spec work) was a direct result of producing work for the clients of the agencies i was at despite the fact that there was no official brief or anything like that. This way, no matter how miserably boring the internship was (i know how it is to try and do something while everything around seems to flow without you) i always ended up with at least 3 new campaign for my folio. 

    also, internships don’t only teach you the craft, they also tell you which agencies you don’t want to work at :)


About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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