While in college, I managed to land a successful internship with my current employer. I can clearly remember aspects of the interview – the nerves, portfolio review, talking points and excitement. When it comes to making time for internships, I can say that nothing beats the real-world experience, the knowledge you will absorb and the connections you will make. And, if you are looking to get into advertising – an internship is almost a necessity.
As an account executive, I have spent the past few years working with interns and even sitting in on a few internship interviews. Below are my top 10 tips to help you land your internship – and maybe even start your dream career!
1. Find the right internship – do your research, make calls and even shadow prospective companies. Then, find the internship that will allow you to hone your skills and prepare most for your potential career. Oh, and by the way, we are looking for tenacious, driven art department and account service interns…
2. Build your portfolio – show the company what you can do. Bring writing or design samples and be prepared to talk through your process. If you don’t know how to build your portfolio – Google it.
3. Don’t forget your cover letter – this is your opportunity to get your foot in the door. Your cover letter should show that you understand the company and that you could add value as an intern. Here is a nice blog that offers some tips.
4. Consult with your professors– they are your biggest advocates. Meet with them, talk through potential opportunities and ask them to review your materials.
5. Be on time – seriously, be early. If you do land an internship interview, you better be on time. I recommend driving the route beforehand to be 100% sure you can get there on time. Also, be sure to ask about parking. A difficult parking situation could set you back 10 minutes.
6. Dress the part – yes, even if it is a casual working environment. A nice suit or professional outfit shows that you respect the people interviewing you and that you take this opportunity very seriously.
7. Do your research – and read it twice. One of the easiest ways to lose credibility is to not do your research. Read the company’s website, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and connect with the person you are interviewing with on LinkedIn.
8. Set up a mock interview – with yourself, a parent or a friend. Run through the materials you have prepared and be sure you are able to talk through the information in a way that pertains to the internship you are applying for.
9. Prepare your own questions – remember this is your future too. Be sure to have a list of questions ready for your interviewer regarding your daily tasks, company culture and long-term take-a-ways. Here is a good article to start you off.
10. Send a thank you note– this hand-written form of gratitude goes a long way. After your interview, be sure to send a thank you note in the mail.