By Trevor Hart
Jobs in the marketing-communications field can be extremely competitive, especially for young professionals just beginning their careers. Applicants looking for a competitive edge need more than just a degree on their resume, and internships provide a great in-between for students without enough experience to land full-time gigs. Today, we are looking at the most valuable aspects of internships in the marketing world and tips and tricks for finding the right internship.
Gaining Real-World Experience: There is only so much that can be taught in a classroom environment. In the digital world, marketing textbooks are often outdated by the time they are published. A Bachelor’s in public relations or digital marketing simply isn’t enough to enter the professional world with. This is why internships are so valuable: hands-on experience, real exposure, and a detailed look at the fast-paced world of marketing.
Building a Professional Network: Securing an internship is the first step to getting your foot in the door of your desired industry. Not only are you able to learn about the industry from working professionals, you have the opportunity to network with the company’s employees, clients, and partners. Though you may not plan to stay with the company you intern with for the rest of your career (though many companies hire from their intern pool), use the connections you make with the company to take the next steps of your career.
Exploring Career Paths: Since most internships are part-time and temporary, they are a great way to explore potential career paths and get a feel for how you fit into the marketing-communication landscape. In an agency setting, there are a variety of functions interns can observe and assist with. Trying something new may reveal something you want to pursue further in your career, or you may learn something you would like to avoid down the line.
Set Objectives: Before you can find the right internship for you, it is important to identify what short-term objectives you want to accomplish as well as your overall career goals. Evaluate your skills, strengths and weaknesses. If you have strong graphic design skills but want to learn about account management, reflect that in your application. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help identify what you want to learn and market yourself to potential employers.
Conduct Research: Do the market research to decide which areas of marketing are most interesting to you (i.e. research and analytics, outside sales, content writing, etc.) Clearly define your overarching career goals to help your potential employer design an internship that lays a strong foundation for your career. Boutique agencies such as 88 West are typically able to create programs uniquely tailored to the intern’s interests and goals.
Look for Openings: If you don’t have a lot of experience, finding an internship can seem like a daunting task. Try leveraging connections you have made through your degree program, other jobs, or personal life. There are many roles for interns that don’t require much experience: digital natives who understand social media, strong writers who can master content writing, or outgoing individuals who can thrive in a sales environment. However, creative agencies can seem insular, and not every business has the structure to take on in-house interns. Here are some resources for finding internships in your area:
Applications: When submitting an internship application, tailor your resume and cover letter to the company with whom you are applying. Showcase your skills, experiences, and achievements relevant to the position you are interested in. In your cover letter, don’t oversell yourself, but demonstrate a genuine interest in the company’s initiatives.
Interviews: Preparation is key to a successful interview. Before the interview, research the company’s background and current initiatives. Practice answering common interview questions to avoid coming off stilted or unprofessional. Since an internship is an educational experience, showcase a genuine eagerness to learn and develop your professional skills.
Follow-Through: You want to be sure you are pursuing an internship that aligns with your professional goals. If you have multiple offers, evaluate the pros and cons of each internship to make the decision easier. Regardless of the outcome, every internship is a valuable learning experience. Even a ‘bad’ internship can show you what you don’t want to do in your career. Likewise, a successful internship can be the foundation of a fulfilling career.
My name is Trevor, and as an 88 West intern, I have spent the summer working directly under Amanda, the agency’s co-founder and director of sales. 88 West’s holistic approach to branding and marketing services aligned perfectly with my internship goal: to learn as much as I can about working in agency marketing. Amanda and Gina provide support through every step of the intern process. Primarily focusing on three areas–content creation, client relations, and outside sales–I have gained real-world skills that have prepared me for a more professional role and I am delighted to be joining the 88 West team in a more long-term capacity.
88 West is always looking for results-driven, dynamic people to join our team. View our recent projects by checking out our portfolio, or to reach out about internship opportunities at email@example.com. We can’t wait to hear from you!