Dawn Dai, a motivational speaker, life coach, and voiceover talent, has held several internship positions which she says helped her attain an eclectic resume. She has interned in various industries that range among media, entertainment and PR. She has also held positions at awesome companies, such as Ketchum, Sirius XM, and BET. She was once coined “the voice of radio” by The New York Times.
With so much internship experience under her belt, Dawn answered questions from the InternMatch Community to help guide readers on their journey to finding great internships, too!
Click here to check out Dawn’s website!
Sonya Sharififard: Which internship provided you with the most fundamental skill set that is applicable towards your current profession?
Dawn: While in college at Howard University, I was always interested in figuring out how to get more involved. I was the Chief of Staff of Student Council and just landed an internship at Sirius XM. As an individual who likes to create possibilities, I created a program called “XM: Behind The Industry.” I invited Howard students to come to Sirius XM to speak with various executives on the many opportunities available, and not those of just being an on-air personality. Students were thrilled and many received internships. Today that has helped me because I’m always trying to figure out how to create synergies between to entities. I’m in the business of helping others make their dreams come true and it is a very rewarding feeling as a motivational speaker.
Nate Parcells: In an incredibly competitive industry like radio, how can an intern standout during a summer or school year internship?
Dawn: The answer is hard work! As the saying goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Stay focused and committed. Many people fail to realize that although many internships are not paid in the radio business, the relationships you establish are priceless. Get to work on time. Keep yourself busy and always ask if there is any other work that needs to get done. Remember you are there to work and not to fraternize with celebrities/guests. Always ask questions! When people recognize that you are serious and eager to learn, they will be more than happy to teach you.
Samantha Reed: I’ve heard that for someone looking to further their career, it becomes crucial to learn the “language” of their particular industry. What are some of the tools or resources you’ve found that helped you to learn the ins and outs of your field? Are there any people that have acted as your mentor along the way?
Dawn: Yes, it is very important to get familiar with the industry that you are pursuing. That means understanding the key companies, players and their values. Does it match up to what you are about? Is it really what you want to do? It is very imperative to get familiar with the culture of the business. You have to think of it as going to another country and not speaking their language. I found it very helpful to research the company, but also the individuals I’m interviewing with. I simply Google them! It works great for a conversation piece during an interview and they will be very flattered that you’ve shown such great interest in them.
Having a mentor is so important. Mentors are there to help guide you. They will share with you some of their mistakes so that you wont make them and help guide you through your difficult times. If you don’t have one already, get a mentor. One of my mentors from my first internship (who still mentors me today) helped me get my first article in The New York Times.
Katherine Lu: With so many internship positions out there, how do you find the one that fits for you? And how do you guarantee that what you’ve learned from you internship can be counted as valuable after the summer?
Dawn: The great thing about internships is that you get the opportunity to try out various fields to see which one fits you the best! You learn so much during internships; it’s the hands on experience of everything you are learning in class. If you find an internship that sparks your interest just a little, go for it! It’s important to realize that you have absolutely nothing to lose. You can guarantee that you’ve learned something from your internship by asking questions.
Also, establish relationships while you’re there! You may attain an internship that you’re not really fond of, but connect with some individuals that are there. And guess what? The person who you established such a great relationship with could go on to work for the company of your dreams! Relationships are just as important as experience, if not more, and that my dear holds a lot of value!