Tips for a successful onboarding into the creative, intense world of marketing.

By Daniel Goldstein

If you’re reading this, you’re likely where I was around two months ago: “Marketing? Sure! Why not?” If not, perhaps you’ve always dreamt of being that stellar advertising protégé. Maybe you just really enjoyed Mad Men.

Regardless, the wade into the ocean of marketing & advertising is a long one. The current is haphazardly strong, and the salty water will surely sting your eyes. I’ve only been here at Ruckus for six weeks, but here are five tips and tricks I can offer to anyone seeking a positive, successful internship experience.

1. Initiative. Initiative. Initiative. I arrived at Ruckus somewhat unsure of which role within the agency I’d be most suited to. I’d encourage anyone beginning their internship to be as blissfully uncertain. With a “no stone left unturned” mentality, I sought out a wide variety of work from different departments. This attitude allowed me to establish connections all across the agency and, more importantly, figure out pretty quickly what role I most enjoyed.

2. Be ready for some big personalities. The marketing world attracts a colorful bunch. As an intern, I often find myself the bluntest tool in the proverbial box. It’s a creative, entrepreneurial industry that attracts the best and brightest. Yes, I’m writing that to garner some brownie points with my employers, but it also comes from a place of truth. It’s a joy to work with such an inspiring crowd, and it takes some humility. You’ll also find that everyone is very welcoming, receptive, and helpful, which brings me to:

3. Respect Intern-Employee Boundaries. If you play your cards right and abide by my first two tips, you may find yourself pretty established within the company for an intern. This comfort can be a trap if you’re not cognizant! It’s important to take initiative and utilize the educational resources available, but if you over-impose on your coworkers, you won’t win any allies. As much as the rest of the staff wants you to have a positive internship, they’re ultimately there to do their job. Be respectful. Know when to ask for help and when to use your common sense. You’ll find that marketing professionals will be too socially intelligent to tell you when you’re acting up.

4. Have fun with it. I find marketing to be the Space Mountain of the business world. You’ll have to wait patiently in a long queue before riding at exceptional speeds in complete darkness. A melodramatic analogy? Perhaps! But it serves to express one tip: have fun with it! There’s a reason why Space Mountain commands queues of up to 90 minutes (6. get good at research), and there’s a reason why it’s a privilege to work in this industry.

5. Write informative blog posts, such as this one (what are the odds!), that improve your agency’s brand recognition and website traffic.