As crummy as it sounds, you honestly do need more on your resume than what your degree is and where you graduated from. Internships are a terrific way to make yourself stand out in comparison to other candidates when applying for your first “grown-up” job when you graduate college. However, internships are by no means easy to find nor easy to obtain, especially awesome ones!
I am a very ambitious person who loves a good opportunities to add something new to my resume. After a lot of searching in my senior year of college, I was finally lucky enough to be chosen for an internship with Leighton Interactive as their Social Inbound Intern this fall. This was definitely not the first internship that I applied for. I applied and went through at least eight interviews over the span of three months. I’m happy that I am here at Leighton Interactive, but it was long, interesting journey to get here.
Let me tell you about the five stages I went through while scouting for an internship.
Where do you begin your search for an internship? The first place I looked was online. This job search website was my favorite, but also use your own colleges’ career listing site to see more great job and internship opportunities. This was the easiest way that I could find internship listings, read their descriptions, and determine if I would qualify for the position. I also used key words like "inbound internship" or "social media marketing" for searching online for positions I was interested in.
But what if there seems to be no job options for my area of interest online? That was always disheartening, but don’t give up. The next step I took was utilizing all of my connections that were already in the field I was interested in. I talked to my professors, career counselors on campus, and even the Dean of the college. All of these people knew people in their area of study or had access to more people. Professors want you to succeed and are sometimes willing to point you in the right direction.
Still no luck with searching? Another handy tool I used to find internships was my social media accounts. Using Linkedin to make connections with people who already work for the company you are interested in is a good start. I used my social media stalking skills to see what skills and experience people with inbound marketing jobs had so that I could better prepare myself. I also asked a few connections on Linkedin about how they got to where they were today. You learn a lot of helpful information when you ask questions!
Prepare Yourself For The Interview
Eventually all of my searching paid off! I learned that the more prepared I was for the interview, the easier the interview became. You need to know yourself and take time to think about what skills, experience, and personality you have. I looked through the inbound intern description and made sure I knew how I could apply my own life to qualifications and skills mentioned there. Also, in all honesty, I wasn't completely sure what inbound marketing was. So I read up on what the job description was and double-checked that it was something I wanted to do. I also looked up common interviewing questions and prepared my own answers to those questions.
Also be ready to describe yourself more than the basic “I am a _______ major, I graduated from ________.” They always hear thse responses. I described myself as an ambitious, friendly, and down to earth marketing major who volunteers backstage for theatre, is part of the Marketing Association at St. Cloud State University, and studied abroad in Europe. Feel free to make yourself sound desirable and be able to describe what else you’ve been doing with your life besides college.
Also keep your resume updated. Always make sure you add anything new that applies to this position. Use wording that was used in the description of the internship to help you appear qualified for that job. Obviously do not lie on your resume, but use your creativity to make your resume look professional and tailor it to the position you’re about to interview for.
The Interview for Inbound Marketing
Now that you got the interview and are prepared, it’s time to shine! Make sure you are dressed neatly, wear something either dark blue, white, or other darker/neutral colors. You don’t have to go over the top with a three piece suit, but make yourself look presentable and that you put in some effort. Show that you are good at time management and care about this interview by being on time or early. I showed up 10 minutes early for my inbound internship interview and made sure to smile at the receptionist and make small talk.
In the interview, I remembered to reference what I practiced during my preparation. I tied my own experiences and skills that would be useful for the inbound internship. At the end of my interview I made sure to thank my interviewer for this opportunity and that I hoped to hear back from them. Be polite, even go as far as to send a thank you email after your interview to show you genuinely appreciatetheir time.
Waiting and Accepting “No”
The hardest part for me was waiting to hear back on if I got the internship or had the chance to move onto another round of interviews. Patience runs thin when waiting for a life changing answer. Continue looking for other opportunities while you’re waiting so that you have a back-up plan if they do not choose you. Also continue reading up on and figuring out the business you just interviewed with. This helps show that you are the right choice if you do end up with the internship! I applied to several other internships and went to interviews while waiting to hear back from the internship I was most excited for. This helped grow my interviewing skills and let me see what other opportunities were out there and make the waiting game more bearable.
Also, don’t feel too disappointed if you don’t hear back from an interview you were interested in. It is bothersome, but sometimes interviewers don’t reply or give you a reason they didn’t pick you. Another difficulty is the possibility of rejection. Don’t see this as a complete negative, think of it as an opportunity to improve! Use the feedback you got from your interview and be more prepared for the next one!
You Caught One! Now Decide if It’s Right For You
Congratulations, you finally heard back from the interviewer and now it’s time to decide if this is the right place for you. Don’t always choose the first company that accepts you. I made that mistake once and regretted it within three hours of my first day at work. That internship seemed like it was going to apply to me, but I quickly realized it was not what I was looking for. It’s okay to say no even after you’ve accepted an internship. The company might not be happy about it, but you must do what is best for you.
I am grateful and lucky I received the inbound internship that I wanted the most, but I also worked for it. Going through my resume with a fine-toothed comb, getting to know myself, and preparing for the interview all helped me get to where I am today. Let my journey to receiving this inbound marketing internship help better prepare you for your own internship adventure. This journey is what you make of it, so give it your all.