My Internship at Connector

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No more than two weeks after sitting my final college exam in May, I started my internship at Connector as Junior Accounts Executive. As my contract comes to a close, I wanted to reflect and share with you some of my great experiences and lessons learnt from working in what had been my home for the last four months.


I landed the job almost accidentally - I submitted my CV here, there and everywhere online, including chancing for an intern position Connector might have had at the time.. I managed to score a few interviews but in the end I felt this one was the right fit for me. With a bit of luck, I seem to have impressed Ivan and Mei Ling who took me in for an interview, walking out of it securing a start date. But before all that, Connector was no strange agency to me, having attended a few events they hosted previously such as the Huawei Snapys 2016 Launch Night and the Huawei Snapys Awards 2016. So I guess I've been connected (pls) with the company since then, even being Facebook friends with CEO Conor Lynch which I did not know would be my future boss!
At first glance, and if you ever get a chance to attend our open days, you'll get the impression that Connector has a refreshing culture, doing interesting work with a lot of cool clients, introducing engaging technology, hosting fun events often, the lot.. Upon further inspection, all of these things proved to be true.

As with anything unknown and new in the world of work, internships can sometimes feel a little daunting and come with a small amount of trepidation. Regardless if you're a student / post-grad on the fence, getting an internship in or beyond your field is something I'd always encourage. It's truly been an eye-opening experience for me both as someone starting a career in Media / Digital Marketing, and as an "Influencer". Here's what I've learned:

I learned and am learning a lot of things - very fast.

I dreaded starting an internship for fear I'd only be tasked coffee runs - but in Connector, very rarely did I ever feel in any way bored. And I appreciate that. (Plus the coffee machine is three steps behind my seat.) 

Due to the ever-changing nature of marketing and technology, there's only so much that can be taught in a traditional education setting that is applied onto your average day-to-day tasks. Because of this, no matter what marketing / advertising / multimedia degrees you may have, the best way to learn is in-house 'teaching' and a lot of 'doing'.

Previously, I only had experience in retail, and this blog and social media thing, if that counts.. So I had no formal experience of developing proposals, writing ad copy, pulling client reports, influencer outreach, project management, or developing social media strategies (besides my own,) but within a short time I had managed to get to grips with the basics of each.

Don't downplay your ideas. Contribute and get stuck in.

As intimidating as an office full of professionals who have all worked together for some time might seem, one of the best ways to make a good and lasting impression is to let your voice be heard. Speak up in meetings and brainstorms if you feel you have an idea; don't worry about it not being 'right'. I struggled at this at the start but if you have any questions about your tasks beyond what you immediately have to know - ask! This only shows your eagerness to learn and participate, while subsequently developing your skills and gaining confidence.

Work culture makes a h u g e difference.

I saw firsthand how an awesome culture of working with a culturally (and musically - looking at you, SwiftlySnakeySuzie..) diverse team affects employees and the overall organisation. As with other creative agencies, Connector is flexible and casual, yet very competent and accomplished in all their work. I've thankfully had no difficulties connecting with my workmates both professionally and personally, and will definitely weep when it's time to separate.. Temple Bar team lunches (at Bunsen / Wow Burger as proposed by Scott) will be craved, pre-drinks feat. our very own drinking board game at Conor's desk will be missed, Pyg (where Giovana taught me how to roll one) sessions after work will never die & "Never Have I Ever" toasts shall remain confidential!
There's a reason so many (young) people want to work in the digital marketing / media sector - it's an enjoyable industry to work in! Many agencies are founded in a creative environment, making the workload a unique blend of creative, design and writing-based tasks mixed with analytical, tech and lead generation aspects.

Often times you leave the office brain dead but completing your tasks is v rewarding and is made lighter by my peers. The office is v rarely a 'strict' office environment - get your tasks done obvs but I get to wear what I want, microwave my pasta / chicken wings / leftover pizza at 9AM / whenever I please (you will miss me too, Nicole,) plus our desk is never not with sugar-coated shiiiite scattered all over. V ideal. 
When it comes down to it, working hard is priority, but having fun doing so comes close. I learned at Connector how culture influences your Mon-Fri, 9AM-6PM happiness which attracts willingly helpful, hardworking, and all around dzeaddddly employees.

Strategic stalking is a thing. Pitch, please.

As if I didn't do enough pitching for ITD, at Connector I would have done a lot of email marketing too. I spent a ridiculous amount of time creating spreadsheets of Influencer groups for all sorts of clients, which meant that I also spent a lot of time strategically stalking your social media and LinkedIn profiles! Thanks to Esteban, who made life a little more painless by teaching me how to use particular stalking tools ;)

Some of you in my own blogging network have even received campaign request emails from me during my time here, but you haven't heard the last of me yet due to the nature of my next job, but more about that on another blog post....
Tap into accessible resources. 

Through Connector, I am certified by the Traackr Academy of Influencer Marketing. I have had the opportunity to share my knowledge on Influencer Marketing when I delivered a talk at the Food & Drink Conference and Exhibition at Citywest Hotel which was initially a little nerve-wrecking, but something I'd happily do again!
The team themselves I consider important resources - on both professional and personal (drama) matters. Weekly Monday meetings when we'd check up on our tasks as well as who has broken whose heart recently will be truly missed. It's been entertaining working with my blogger babe Mei Ling, please save all the goss for when we meet outside office! I cannot thank Ivan enough for being both a good friend & mentor to me - You are 101% appreciated "luv," and if I grow up to even be one-third as great as you, I'd be truly grateful! Conor, your strict grammar rules have (hopefully) now stuck with me "8D".
You're v lucky to get a PAID internship in 2017..

.. but regardless, just feckin' do it. There is a growing pool of organisations / agencies taking advantage of full-time labour in exchange for 'valuable experience' and only that, but I got v lucky to have had my expenses paid! If you happen to be in the best position and can afford to take a role without, gowan so! This "valuable experience" is guaranteed to enhance your CV for future employers who will eventually PAY YOU!

If the likes of marketing / project management / content creation / admin / web development / graphic design / any related field interests you, make a bomb CV, get onto job boards asap and apply to ad agencies. And even if you come out of it with a newly-realised ambition, you would've gained technical skills invaluable to so many other career paths.

When searching for internships, try to ask whether you'll be getting your hands dirty on real projects. At Connector, I always felt that my tasks, no matter how little, were valuable to bigger projects as a whole. If you land an intern role solely to do coffee and salad lunch runs.. DON'T. Like, b y e.

No matter the type of internship you end up doing, go in ready to listen, learn, and practice. That said, there won't be extreme expectations of you being an expert (unless you've claimed to have years and years of experience behind you,) so don't worry about having basic knowledge at first - everyone's got to start somewhere!
Connector was my first shot at a "grown up" role as a fresh Grad, and needless to say I could not have been luckier to have had the pleasure of learning the fundamentals of the industry from my C-fam in our humble studio in T-bar. I'm currently typing this as I finish my last shift while Suzie orders a bouncy castle for our next team party (to which I've invited myself to bc I'm clingy af..) I had intended to write this post to encourage / inspire my readers to take up internships bc I fully enjoyed mine, but now I realise it's turned slightly into an open letter for my colleagues: no "sincere apologies!"

I miss you all already, but honestly I feel like I'll see you guys next weekend anyway hahah - Again, thank you, for tolerating & supporting my slight alcoholism for everything in the last four months.

Lots of love,
Your (other) favourite in-house (full) Asian Influencer.

Dee.