Being an Intern/Assistant at a Boutique Talent Agency: 8 Things You Need to Know
1 – There is always work to be done
As a low-level employee, you should always be working on something, but many large agencies may not be assigning you work all the time. At a boutique agency, however, there are always things that need to be done and aren’t always employees there specifically to do them. That’s where you, an intern/assistant, come in. Find out what you can do, starting with the department you’re working with, and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and take on challenging assignments (see #4 on doing tasks outside your department).
2 – Staff is there to help you and you should be there to help them
As the hip, young intern, employees are often rooting for you because they remember what it was like at your age and in your position. They are there to help you with your experience and to ensure you get the most out of it, but will not be holding your hand through everything; most of the time you’ll have to hold your hand with your other hand. Regardless, they are aware you aren’t a master yet and would rather help you than let you make a mistake. Just as they may offer their time to help you with things, always be vocal about your ability to help them with things they may need help with. Help is always appreciated.
3 – Some employees may be part-time
Agents, especially at a boutique agency, are often working there part-time since they may be actively paying for their education, urban-area rent, and/or supporting their families. Because of this, it’s important to be patient and understanding if they can’t always get back to you immediately. As you’ll begin to learn, their work at the agency can be extremely stressful and rigorous on top of what they do outside of the agency, so you have a great opportunity to make their agency work more seamless.
4 – You may be asked to do things outside your department and should seize the opportunity every time
As aforementioned, boutique agencies always have plenty of work to be done and a plethora of opportunities for you to explore. But it’s important to keep in mind that the work and opportunities may be with/for another department and it’s possible to think that you’re wasting your time. But any opportunity is golden, especially when you’re proving yourself and your capabilities. There is always something to learn that you can apply to what you want to be doing.
5 – You will have frequent opportunities to speak with your direct supervisor or the head of the company and should take advantage of it
Something that bosses typically highlight when onboarding interns/assistants is the power of asking questions. Whether simply picking someone’s brain or asking for clarification with an assignment, talking to supervisors and bosses almost always stands to help. At a boutique agency especially, the boss is always working to prove themselves as well because they’re competing with some big industry players, so they’d rather be “bothered” with your questions than have you quietly make a mistake that reflects on both you and the company at large.
6 – Always be proving that you are ready
Distinguishing yourself as a worker is a great way to make yourself more hireable in your boss’s eyes. Doing intern/assistant activities is one thing, but getting in on actual agent action and conversations will help prove you’re ready for the next step. Interns/assistants who ask questions about agent operations already have a step up on those who don’t because they have that extra knowledge, and higher-ups will notice that they are interested in moving up and becoming an agent as quickly as possible. Show that agent grit and drive as an intern and you’ll surely be looked at in a better light.
7 – Always be learning about company operations and the industry you’re working in
An important part of working in any industry is knowing how it works, who is leading it, and where it’s going. This is especially prominent in entertainment where information often moves so quickly that it can be so easy to fall behind. Learning about the industry you’re working in does nothing but help you engage and keep up with conversations, and can even help you impress a coworker or your boss who may not know something. If you can, share your “wisdom”.
8 – Your input is valued
Even when you don’t feel the most useful, it’s crucial to remember that you are where you are for a reason. You applied and got an interview, interviewed and got the position, and have been trusted to do real assignments. When in a meeting or call, don’t be shy or afraid to speak up if you think you have something valuable to add. If you happen to know something that someone is struggling to remember, figured out a more efficient way to do something they’re doing inefficiently, or simply have something to add, speak up.
All in all, the key is to work your hardest with integrity but to also be aware that you must be seen and noticed in order to move forward at any agency or company (How To Get Your Boss’s Attention). – Eli