Interns: Six Share their Secrets to Success

Interns: Six Share their Secrets to Success

By Vitiello Communications Group

Planning to hire an intern? You’re in good company.

According to data collected by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 97 percent of large employers plan to hire interns, and they also plan to hire 3.4 percent more interns than the previous year. Additionally, NACE reports that interns spend more time on real-world, business tasks as opposed to fetching coffee and filing. On average, half of an intern’s time will be spent on project management and problem-solving tasks, one third on communications and logistics tasks, 10 percent on administrative work and very little to no time on non-essential tasks.

Internships provide benefits to both the intern and the host company. Interns learn the tools of the trade in an outside-the-classroom environment, providing them with insights and skills they were never exposed to before. Companies get the value of relevant skills and access to future employees for a specified trial period.

Offering an internship program gives your company a firsthand look at what to expect in terms of the talent entering the workforce. That information is invaluable when making hiring and business decisions.

Jill Vitiello, CEO, is a leader in small business internships, and was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article on how small, local businesses can connect with possible interns. VTLO has offered these paid internships for close to a decade, giving interns a hands-on, business-focused look into the communications industry. VTLO interns have built on their experience with the agency, creating successful careers and winning prestigious awards in their fields.

Where are they now – checking in with six former VTLO interns

Fred Roselli, now the Senior Director of Strategic Alignment for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, found an internship with VTLO by cold calling businesses with public relations qualifications in the state of New Jersey. Following his time with VTLO, Roselli worked in the sports industry with the Carolina Hurricanes, spent time at a PR firm, got into the corporate world with Coca-Cola and then moved into non-profits with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“The main thing I learned from a combination of my internships is not to overlook the big opportunities in smaller settings,” said Roselli. “The chance to learn about how an organization works and the various ways in which companies operate are everywhere, so take advantage and ask questions to better understand how things fit together.”

Scott Slotkin interned with VTLO in 2009 and 2010 before his junior and senior years of college and is now an Emmy award winning editor for The Tonight Show. Interning at VTLO was Slotkin’s first opportunity to see the inner workings of the corporate world, whereas his internships in TV and radio focused more on the technical aspects of television broadcast.

“Interning at VTLO translated into a career in TV production in that all of my experiences helped build on one another to lead me to where I am now,” said Slotkin. “If I didn’t have the VTLO internship on my resume when I applied for my next job, I may not have gotten it, and so forth. The more diverse your experiences, the more potential doors you can open.”

Richard Williams, now a communications specialist at Johnson and Johnson, interned for VTLO following his freshman year of college in 2013 after switching majors and wanting to get more insight into the communications business. Williams credits Jill Vitiello and Kristen Ericksen, Director, Customer Delivery, with providing the necessary information to take his career to the next level, which turned into a job at a top health care company.

“I think interning at VTLO prepared me for a lot of the challenges you face when working for a larger organization,” said Williams. “When needs arise, you are often taken out of your comfort zone to work on a project you haven’t worked on before. Time management and an eagerness to take on new challenges is a skill needed in an agency environment, and when those challenges appear in a larger organization I feel more prepared because of my time at VTLO.”

Erin Serpico, now a journalist at The Press of Atlantic City, interned with VTLO during the winter and spring semesters of her senior year while attending the University of Maryland. Serpico, the 2017 winner of the Robert P. Kelly Award as a top journalist in New Jersey, thinks that getting outside her comfort zone of the newsroom and entering the business communications world was integral in learning to apply her skills and knowledge in a new way.

“Something that continued to take me by surprise at each of the internships I have had was how important it was to step up and stand out,” said Serpico. “I found it the most rewarding and effective when I would step into an assignment with an open mind and with confidence and to be open toward whatever might be thrown my way. It’s easy to say no or second-guess yourself before heading into a task that seems daunting, but the more you show initiative on a variety of projects, the more you’ll be trusted with projects that make a difference.”

Dan Feinberg interned with VTLO in 2017 as an internal communications content creator, focusing on driving online engagement for the virtual agency. Following a successful internship period, Feinberg was offered a full-time position at VTLO as a communications specialist and has branched out into client work while still managing the company’s internal communication and intranet.

“Having that first-hand experience as a VTLO intern was immeasurable in terms of what I’ve learned,” said Feinberg. “There’s no hiding in the background here, and that’s what every intern should strive to get out of their internships. You don’t learn anything by taking a backseat, and VTLO gave me the opportunity to grow in the field.”

Farrell Tamke interned with VTLO in the summer of 2017 before entering his junior year at Marist College. While at VTLO, Tamke worked on numerous projects, mainly focused on both internal and external video content.

“I think it’s really important that you meet people and work in as many different environments as possible, so you can get a sense of what you like and dislike, such as the size of a company, styles of management, and the myriad of other factors that make a business enjoyable to work for or not,” said Tamke. “I feel much more prepared to handle working in a fast-paced environment and handle multiple projects at once after working with VTLO.”

“We are incredibly proud of our interns,” said CEO Jill Vitiello. “We were fortunate to have them at VTLO at the start of their careers. Our interns brought VTLO modern skillsets, fresh thinking, and plenty of grit. Their legacy of success proves the value of paid internships for college students – and for the companies that give them a start.”

Creating an internship program for your company is a major step in attracting top talent. What they do when they arrive can make all the difference. Interns thrive when they are given responsibility and are accountable for results. Making interns a true part of the team offers a sense of belonging. Setting goals at the beginning of the internship period and celebrating accomplishments at the end provides a rich learning experience for college students and helps companies complete projects. A successful, sustainable internship program ensures a steady stream of new talent into the organization.

You never know — a future leader could be applying for your internship right now. Make sure your company provides a great experience.

For more information on how Vitiello Communications Group (VTLO) can help your company position its employer brand to acquire top talent – including interns, call us at 732-238-6622 or email us at info@vtlo.com.

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