These were all challenging, real, and fast-paced internships. I was wide-eyed the whole time but mostly thankful that I got to work in an industry where it was acceptable (dare I say advantageous?!) to wear glitter flats and a hot pink blazer. 😉 Throughout each internship I worked on small teams where I was given more responsibility than I had thought possible (more than I would have given myself at the time, ha) and gained valuable experience.
It wasn’t exactly by chance that I came across these three specific internships. Though many things did fall into place for me that I can look back and consider “lucky,” I also see a pattern in why and how I looked into internships and applied for them, which I will explain in my 5 tips below. I tend to get very emotional about things that I want to pursue and therefore go after them with everything I have. Sometimes this gets a little dicey (as you can imagine), but I’d say it was a positive trait to have when I was attempting to get an internship that has it’s own hashtag… #Pinktern. 😉
Before I share my tips, I must put a *few* disclaimers in here. #1: I am only 23 years old and really have no idea what my career holds in store for me and how to navigate it appropriately. That is up to my future to hold. 😉 #2: This post is definitely geared toward people who are pursuing internships in creative fields. I’m talking about the kind of internship applications that ask for your Instagram handle instead of your GPA. THOSE are my kind of applications. 😂 #3: I have absolutely no HR experience so I don’t know if these tips actually help get ahead in the application process, BUT, I do know a thing or two about being a college student who’s applying for internships and feel confident that the 5 below tips helped me differentiate myself from other applicants and land each of my internships.
1. Figure out what you love doing more than anything else
First let’s start by figuring out what type of field you want to go in. Now that I’ve been working full time for the past six months (a job that I received due to an internship), I’ve realized that working takes up about 80% of how you spend your time so you really have to LOVE it in order to be fully happy in your life. Know that you are not limited to only applying for internships that correspond with your major or minor. But if you are a communications, journalism, or marketing major and want to go into PR/fashion then that’s a pretty standard fit.
2. Know your story
When you sit down across from the person who’s interviewing you (and you’re still trying to get over the sweaty handshake you gave them when you walked in), when they say, “tell me about yourself” you better have a spiel down. Ahead of time, figure out a way to tell your life story in an abbreviated, cohesive way that somehow relates to why you want to enter that field and have that specific internship. For instance– if you grew up as a girl making mixed tapes and selling them to all of your classmates (and you LOVED doing that) and are trying to now get an internship at Spotify, talk about how you’ve shown a strong interest in shared digital music for your whole life (random example but you get the point).
Then, when they ask you all kinds of behavioral questions, have specific anecdotes to back up your answers. Think back to defining experiences in your life and how they can help answer a variety of interview questions. Before the interview, figure out which anecdotes you have that could apply to multiple questions and have those stories rehearsed. Hopefully you’ve connected with someone who has interviewed with that company before so you can have an idea of what types of questions they will ask. ALSO, look up the company’s core values and use the same language from those statements in your interview questions. Make eye contact and speak with confidence and emotion. They will forget 90% of what you say but will distinctly remember how you said it.
3. Use your etiquette
After your interview, once you’d called your mom to dish about every single thing (like what the interviewer was wearing, if the people in the office looked cute, you know, the professional details), sit down and write an email to anyone who interviewed you (/anyone you met who you made a connection with). Thank them for their time, explain why you loved learning about (insert whatever interesting tidbit they told you), and reiterate what skills you have that makes you different from every other candidate (more about that in tip #4). Tell them how excited you are about the potential of working for them and ask them what the next steps are. Then, get out your best personalized stationery and write a hand written thank you note. p.s. Try not to use contractions or the word “ya’ll.”