Your professors keep reminding you that you need to squeeze in an internship before graduation, and until now, you haven’t thought much about it. You have group projects, final exams, that big paper you haven’t started, and a jillion other things to worry about. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to lock down a valuable internship experience without having to drop other schoolwork or your part-time job?
Not to mention, battling your fellow marketing majors for a noteworthy internship can seem nearly impossible with the great breadth of competitiveness. Hearing horror stories of internships-gone-wrong puts another obstacle in the path of scoring an awesome marketing internship. It can be difficult to pick out the rewarding intern jobs in which you’re not delivering coffees or cleaning out the break room fridge. But, it is possible!
It will take a little extra work to stand out from your marketing peers, but here are a few steps to get you started:
Find your specialty
There’s a number of areas in marketing that you can focus on. Finding out which one interests you the most is a great way to narrow down your internship search, and may even boost your passion for the field. Positions in marketing can include:
- Public relations
- Product management
- Digital strategies
- Traditional methods
- Data analysis
- Content creation
- Project management
Doing some research on all the different areas in marketing will help you find what you would most like to do (and probably save you some time in the long run).
Make a list of requirements
Heck, you’re investing in yourself, you should take some time to think about what you want! Normally, a marketing internship job needs to meet a list of your school’s conditions. But, you can have one, too. This list might include:
- An increase in your professional network
- A chance at a full-time position
- Special certifications
- Yummy snacks
- A flexible schedule
The list goes on. Of course, you still may have to make some sacrifices for the marketing internship of your dreams (like working for free). As long as the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, you should consider the job.
Get your personal brand in order
That Instagram from spring break in Corpus Christi is bomb; but, is it in alignment with the brand you’re trying to communicate to potential employers? You’re a marketing major, so your personal brand should be something you’re proud to show off. Sure, many workplaces have adopted a more lax environment, but there still is a standard of professionalism. Put yourself in an employer’s shoes: would you trust the college student who posts creative and thoughtful material, or the one posting a video of that sick game of pong?
In addition to getting your social accounts in line, having an online portfolio is becoming a norm - if not, an expectation - for job and internship candidates. Creating a free website with WordPress or another platform is a great way to set the stage for your portfolio and resume. If an employer asks for your portfolio, you can simply send a link. It’s also an excellent chance to get creative with how you display digital content.
Determine the type of company you want to work for
Does direct communication with the company president appeal to you? Or, would you rather see commercials for your company’s brand on national TV? Do you find yourself intrigued by nonprofit organizations? Whichever scenario trips your trigger, you should have it mind when searching for a marketing internship, as well as the pros and cons that will be associated with each.
Conduct the search
After you have a picture of the company or individual you would like to intern with, and you have your personal brand updated, it’s time to reach out to businesses. Using connections through your school or LinkedIn can be extremely helpful in contacting employers. Other social media platforms can be useful in your search for a marketing internship, too. The types of businesses you’re probably looking at use multiple channels to advertise intern openings, so following the desired company on Facebook and Twitter is a smart route.
Write a bang-up cover letter
Your cover letter is the first point of contact you have with your potential employer. Sometimes, when applying for internships through LinkedIn or another interface, you have the option of uploading your cover letter file right onto your account. In this situation, it’s obviously necessary to have a PDF typed up for easy transfer between devices.
If you’re emailing the company, typing up your cover letter right in the email takes a step out of the recipient’s process, and gives you a chance to catch the reader’s attention right off the bat. Whether you take the in-email or attachment route, here are some tips for the content of your cover letter:
Don’t repeat your resume: This is your chance to be creative in telling the employer why you’re the right intern for the job. Leave the specifics to your resume.
Keep it brief: Get your point across in less than a page - marketers are busy.
Write for the company: Maybe you have a standard cover letter for your internship applications, but make sure you’re including content catered to that specific business. It doesn’t hurt to complement the company’s past work.
For more cover letter ideas, check out these examples.
Your dazzling cover letter and resume got you an interview! Excellent work. Now, preparing for an interview should include doing research on the company and their past work. Do some research on your potential supervisors to see projects they’ve done in the office and on the side. This will help you connect with your interviewer(s) on a personal level, and will leave a lasting impression.
Secondly, prepare extra copies of your resume and writing/project samples to have ready in case your interviewer asks. Also, have some original questions in mind for the interviewer, because they will ask.
Nail the interview
After all the digital communication, it’s time to let your personality shine! Try to arrive about 10 minutes early and be dressed professionally. Give a firm handshake, and don’t be afraid to show eagerness for the position. After all the questions have been asked and answered, make sure you know what the follow-up procedure will be.
Your interviewer(s) took time out of their busy days to meet with you, so a “thank you” should be in order no matter how the interview went. An email is the most efficient way to do this, but a handwritten note might make you stand out. Either way, keep it concise, and make sure to proofread before sending.
It can be a test of patience, but scoring an awesome marketing internship will jumpstart your career. This is especially true if you can find an internship with a company that offers specialized training; the onboarding to your first job will be quicker, and employers like that. Using these tips will hopefully save you time in the long run, and help you land the perfect marketing internship. Good luck!
Keep an eye out for open positions at CWS!