By Stephany Rodas
Under fluorescent lighting surrounded by blue-tinted walls, I nervously sat in a studio room preparing for my first Facebook Live interview at Teen Vogue. It was my first media interview representing a client and truth be told, I was not ready for it. Sure, I had been well-versed in the client product (having worked for them all summer) and had rehearsed numerous times to ensure that I was comfortable with the material, but it all came down to one thing – confidence.
Confidence was the pillar of my experience this summer at the Harold Burson Summer Internship program. From the application process to finalizing my decision to move to New York for the summer and settling into the dynamic chaos that comes with agency life, I was confident in my decision to pursue this opportunity. However, when things came down to the wire, I was nervous about fulfilling some of the most challenging tasks. While being nervous in new experiences is normal, it is important to acknowledge the role that confidence plays in obtaining success, especially as an intern.
So how do we, as students and young professionals go about building confidence?
Develop a Support Network
Having relatively few friends residing in New York, I made it a point to establish myself among my peers and create new friendships. My summer roommate and fellow TLF scholarship recipient, Sydney, was my biggest cheerleader and friend throughout my time there. Truth is, you need at least one person who you can relate to, talk to and encourage mutual support with to succeed.
Know Your Strengths
For some, our first instinct is to focus on areas of improvement instead of our current strengths. Being self-aware of the things you are good at can help steer you through tough situations. In the case of the Teen Vogue interview, I may not have had any formal media training prior to it, however, I had developed public speaking skills from previous internships that enabled me to feel more comfortable speaking on-camera.
While everyone wants to walk away knowing they left a positive impression on a prospective employer, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for constructive feedback during a mid-point or final evaluation. Sometimes, even checking in throughout the course of your internship to follow-up on completed tasks can help you see strengths you may not be aware of and target areas that may need improvement. Not only does requesting feedback demonstrate initiative, but also a sense of humility and desire to grow professionally and personally.
While these three items are not the only means to develop confidence, they were the areas of central focus that enabled my growth this summer. If I had to emphasize anyone in particular, it would have to be the support network. I would never have taken a chance, moved across the country or met Sydney if it were not for The LAGRANT Foundation. Their continuous support of all my professional endeavors has given me the confidence to pursue some of the most invigorating and challenging experiences of my life thus far.
So be confident and aim for your dream internship!
Stephany Rodas is a graduate student at the University of Southern California, completing her Master’s in Strategic Public Relations. She was one of three interns selected to participate in the Harold Burson Summer Internship Program through their partnership with The LAGRANT Foundation.