My name is Connor, and I’m a student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I’m a double-major in Strategic Communication and Interactive Media Studies, and I like to think I have an impressive resume and portfolio. However, my first search for internships quickly proved me wrong.
For young adults, internships have become necessary to get your foot in the door, which is why I frantically applied for 6 different positions in spring 2021. Not only did I have to face the competitive intern market, but I was applying at a time where the world was quite literally falling apart. Would I even find an employer that wanted me? Not really… I got rejected by one and didn’t hear back from four, which I attribute to a lot of chaos in the employment market and a lot of companies not having formal internships this year.
Then Dwellworks stepped in.
I applied for the position of Digital Marketing Intern, something I was extremely excited about. Fearing for the worst – rejection, embarrassment, failure, etc. – I was met by a company that put inclusivity, opportunity, and growth above all else. My interview went well, and after two anxiety-ridden days of waiting, I got a call letting me know that the company would like to proceed with the hiring process. I was ecstatic, of course, but looking back I still didn’t have a clue what I was getting into.
Fast-forward to my first day and I’m faced with a brief introduction into the office and the kinds of things I’d be working on – close to what I expected. What I did not expect, however, was a rush situation that had me called upon to create graphics for a critical, time-sensitive presentation. My first thoughts were along the lines of, “Welp… I’m completely underqualified for this…”, but these quickly turned into, “Wait, they’re giving me actual, real work!” Going beyond this, I felt validated as an employee because they were already putting their trust in me on day one – a feeling I can only describe as awesome.
From this point on I realized that I was more than the intern portrayed in media, and the intern that many of my friends have become. Throughout my time at Dwellworks, I’ve been entrusted with need-to-know information, given genuinely important tasks, and listened to as an individual with valuable input. Despite all these great things however, my most transformative experience has been feeling like I belong as a respected colleague, not just an intern that does busy work.
Dwellworks has truly opened my eyes to critical things: what the corporate world looks like, what to expect, and understanding workplace etiquette/company culture. Places like Dwellworks are the companies where I wish every intern could start, because while many companies can offer real experience, not many can offer the sense of nurturing that has resonated with me so deeply. Every single employee I’ve met has expressed nothing but goodwill, offering to help with anything they can, or simply offering a seat in their office to chat and explain their job. I mean come on; I met the CEO on my first day… who else does that?!
Focusing in more on the practical skills and knowledge I’ve acquired over these past 2 ½ months, understating B2B companies has been one of the greatest. Sure, I was and am a naïve marketing major, but I think I speak for a lot of kids my age when I say I had no idea how big the business-to-business world was. Honestly, I didn’t even totally understand what business-to-business meant…It took a week or two for me to even grasp what Dwellworks does! When it comes to explaining relocation assistance and destination/corporate housing services, I like to say that we do everything except come to your house and help you with your physical move – “you” being corporate employees across a vast array of global companies.
Just a few months ago, I imagined myself in some sort of social media manager position, posting content and reviewing analytics, but Dwellworks’ business model and culture has opened my eyes to the world of marketing to other businesses rather than direct consumers. Realizations like this, and how widely applicable my skillset is, has taught me to never undervalue my capabilities. It’s also taught me how many jobs there are for me to explore. That last piece of advice actually came from the Director of Marketing who hired me (also my boss) – while she’d love to have me back next summer, its way too early in my life to stop exploring when I could test the waters with different company culture, size, and business models. It’s this transparent style of nurturing at Dwellworks that has helped reaffirm my skillset, and I don’t think any other place could have given me that.
Here are my top 3 internship tips for college students I learned this past summer:
1. Don’t sell yourself short
Sure, you might only be 19, 20 or 21 years old, but you still bring a unique approach to the world that no one else can replicate. If you’re passionate about the career you want to have, then you need to prove you care about improving your skillset – and you need to do it while keeping in mind that no one expects you to be perfect. Also, you’d be surprised by how much you can leverage your understanding of the internet and digital culture.2. Explore every opportunity
My boss might not like reading this, but I genuinely had no clue what I was applying for outside of the job title and basic bullet point description. Even after the interview, it took a long time to fully grasp what we do. If I had been told about B2B companies and relocation services, I probably would have said, “Eh, that’s not really what I want”. I would have been a fool to make that call. As I hope I’ve done justice to in this blog, I’ve learned far more than I ever could have asked for and been challenged in exciting new ways. We’re too young to be picky.
3. Ask for more work
One thing I had to learn quickly is that there is always work to do, so ask what you can do to help. No, this is not solely to look like the super intern that will one day rule the world, it’s simply to get experience across a wide variety of real situations. I thought I’d be working on social media management, but I’ve learned HubSpot, edited videos, done graphic design work, and even contributed to first our official ESG impact report. If you’re given work outside of what you thought you applied for, odds are that any other company would ask you to do the same. Learn how to do it at a time when people expect you to be learning.
Thank you for reading my intern spotlight and thank you to Dwellworks for an incredible summer I can look back on as the start of something great.