Remember that feeling growing up? The one when you step onto a new campus for the first time, not knowing anyone and feeling slightly (or incredibly) intimidated by the new people you’ll be interacting with on a daily basis? Starting an internship or job at a new company as a young adult can foster a similar sentiment, but the environment that company chooses to create and uphold can evaporate those feelings of trepidation. Even during my internship interview I could tell that HYFN had a stimulating culture. Team members praised one another, and the amount of respect for each other’s intelligence and integrity was evident.
An example of this is personified in weekly all-hands meetings on Mondays in which the entire company gathers to share what they are working on for the week, and what they have recently accomplished. These meetings are filled with witty remarks, laughs, and an affable atmosphere. But most notably, in every meeting I have been a part of since starting here, team members have gone out of their way to recognize an individual or group for their work. Because this culture places so much emphasis on performance, it is in one’s best interest to demonstrate their ability to succeed in this environment.
With such an emphasis, I have kept the following things in mind to excel as an intern. You could apply the same principles to your role at HYFN or any other company that offers a similarly nurturing and fast-paced environment.
While HYFN certainly has a warm, bracing culture, being a young adult in the professional world can still seem a little daunting. On my first day here as an intern within the creative team, I was tasked with working on a project that would be going out to a client the following Monday. I was excited to be given the opportunity, but I was also worried that I wouldn’t meet the team’s expectations. Like jumping into those colorful ball pits as a kid: It looks fun until you land and become enveloped by the chromatic spheres, grasping wildly to get to the surface. Your best option is to get help, grab the hand of a friend whose feet are firmly planted outside the pit. Jumping into a new unfamiliar environment naturally requires some help from the well-established members, and it’s okay to ask. At HYFN, as at many other companies, the best way to complete an assignment well is usually by asking for clarification or advice. Don’t be afraid to reach out, especially as an intern. You are there to learn.
Express Your Ideas
All teams value fresh ideas and creative input. So even as an intern or junior level employee your suggestions are encouraged and taken into consideration. There will be meetings where you’re the fly on the wall, observing and absorbing the exchanges being made, but there are also occasions where you’re asked to participate and share your ideas. It’s in these moments that you can demonstrate your ingenuity. For instance, I was asked to do research for a particular client and from there note the ways in which to best target and address the audience that client wanted to reach. I noticed trends that could be taken advantage of in addressing the target audience and shared my ideas with the team I was working under. My ideas were taken seriously and some were actually used in the creative process for the campaign. Being able to contribute meaningfully is something that HYFN expects from all of its employees, including interns, and your ideas do hold value with the team.
This is the most important piece of advice I can offer, as demonstrating a proactive mindset will serve you well here and in most professional settings. Showing that you are willing to work hard and are eager to take on challenging opportunities will distinguish you in the eyes of those you are working under. Going above and beyond is recognized and praised here at HYFN. In our weekly creative team meetings, gold stars (throwback to grade school) are awarded to team members who have gone out of their way to do a great job. The meritocratic nature of HYFN’s culture is apparent and motivates people to put their best foot forward, which is why I encourage even interns to be assertive and take on new challenges. Your superiors will be grateful and impressed.
Be a Sponge
As an intern, you will be invited to a number of meetings that will expose you to strategy, ideation, and creative processes, and how the team works through them. You will learn the most by taking the initiative to invite yourself to meetings and ask to be a part of projects. There are tons of opportunities to take advantage of at HYFN and the team you are working with will be more than happy to include you in the things you want to learn about.
The Not-So-Fun Stuff
Realistically, not everything you do as an intern will be thrilling, but there certainly is no busy work. The tasks you are asked to perform are all necessary and directly helpful to the company. Play some music, get in a groove, and knock it out. Your team will be grateful and you will be able to work on more engaging projects afterward.
Finally, Enjoy Yourself
It’s definitely not just work that goes on here at HYFN. With beer in the office on Friday afternoons and teams taking full advantage of Thirsty Thursdays at the pubs on the boardwalk, this company knows how to work hard, play hard.
Overall, interning at HYFN can serve as a valuable and rewarding experience. This company is filled with intelligent, friendly people who are experts in their fields, happy to give you insight into the industry. Take on challenges, share your ideas, and learn as much as possible. These folks certainly know what they’re doing, and they do it well.