Ask a former intern: UX Architect Jess Dillard

It’s that time of year again—internship-hunting season. Recent grads (and students) are looking for real-world experiences to help shape their career paths, and companies are welcoming young talent inside their doors for on-the-job opportunities that benefit both parties. At VSA, we pride our program on its ability to build the professional credentials of college students and recent graduates. Our interns work across branding, design, marketing, and technology on real projects for VSA clients. We aim to teach best practices from teams and mentors while building a professional network in a rapidly growing industry.

As VSA gears up for hiring summer 2016 interns (official internship postings will go live Friday, January 29), we will be publishing a series of Q&As with VSA-interns-turned-employees about their summer stints at the company. Here is what Jess Dillard, an alum of our 2012 program, and now a User Experience Architect, had to say.

Describe the culture of VSA using words that begin with V, S, and A.

Vocal, Smart, Authentic: Everyone here takes time to do thoughtful work that is true to themselves and the client. Everyone is also very outspoken, which can be intimidating as an intern, but is now one of my favorite parts of VSA. I’m honored to work with so many intelligent, talented people every day.

What helped you get through some of the more busy days at VSA?

On busy days, I would make a prioritized task list, and then focus on one thing at a time. Listing things out can make a busy day seem less overwhelming.

What surprised you the most about your internship with VSA?

I had zero exposure to this kind of work, so I felt like every day I was learning something new about the industry and the way design and marketing firms work.

What kind of projects did you work on?

Overall, I worked closely with senior content managers and strategists to learn to ropes. I did content management on a few IBM projects and content strategy on several website projects. I also got to help with new business pitches, which gave great insight into the kind of work VSA does and marketing needs in different industries.

What are some industry tips you learned while interning that you still use today?

I really learned my way around a spreadsheet. Organizing information digestibly and then formatting it in a way that is visually appealing is something that I am always trying to improve on, and it all started when I was an intern.