Yes, it has in fact been way too long since I’ve featured someone as part of my “People You Should Know” series. I typically use a Q&A format for these posts but this one will be a little different. I’d like to introduce you to Roland Cailles, a former intern at our firm.
We pride ourselves on the quality of interns we bring in the door at CG&A. Internships are no walk in the park as we immerse our interns in account work and challenge them to learn as much as possible about the industry from day one. As such, it’s not uncommon for some of our interns to turn their position into a permanent gig.
Roland tracked me down on LinkedIn about six months ago after graduating from Columbia College. Rather than straight up asking for a job, he smartly did his homework, took note of my interests and started a conversation about social media. Following a few email exchanges, I had Roland come in for an informational interview. Timing happened to work out where we were in need of a new intern and Roland was on top of the list. It’s true, being proactive in building relationships pays off in the end.
Throughout his six months at CG&A, I had the pleasure of being Roland’s mentor. Roland stood out for a number of reasons but here are some qualities that caught my attention that also serve as good reminders for other recent college grads looking to land that first agency internship.
As a project manager, it’s easy to get bogged down in handling multiple accounts on a daily basis. On top of weekly team meetings, Roland consistently kept me updated with weekly status reports and regularly checked in to take on additional work and ask questions. Priceless.
Work Hard, Then Work Harder
I knew that when I assigned projects to Roland that they would not just be completed but thought through and revised. It’s always impressive to see an intern putting in a little OT on a Friday afternoon when he or she knows there is a looming Monday deadline. That’s a rare quality and certainly one that gets noticed very quickly. In addition, PR is unfortunately not a M-F, 9-5 gig. Showing that you’re willing to work a couple weekends for events, video/photo shoots or other projects is key.
Maintain a Quest for Knowledge
Anyone involved with social media marketing knows that it’s a full-time job just to stay on top of the latest trends. Without asking, Roland would frequently ask to participate in free Webinars, call my attention to key blog posts, white papers and other relevant research and trends he knew would be of interest to me.
Nothing makes a project manager happier than rolling into a scheduled brainstorm and seeing team members with printouts in hand and notes already jotted down. PR/Marketing firms thrive on creativity and it can certainly be a brain strain when you’re working to do this across multiple accounts. Having team members launch a brainstorm with fresh perspective and ideas is golden.
Get Social Savvy
All agencies are seeing a new crop of knowledge roll in the door as more and more intern candidates are recognizing the need to possess social media and Web 2.0 skills. Bringing in a social savvy marketer like Roland that gets the social Web is a huge addition to any account team.
Learn Client Relations
Often the hardest part of PR for an intern to fully digest. When you’re not on the front lines every day communicating with the client, you miss little nuances. Roland was quick to pick up on this side of the business.
I anticipate big things in the years ahead wherever the future takes Mr. Cailles. Thanks for your hard work Roland and be sure to check out Roland’s post recapping his internship experience.