Ahhh, spring is here… and you know what that means? It’s internship season!
Internships. It is the most wonderful and stressful time of the year for a second-year Marketing Communications student. When I was a first-year, I always heard my second-year friends talk about their internship. Who they’ve applied for, who they want, what kind of questions they’ve been asked, and most importantly, who got which internship.
Going in to my last semester, I had an idea of what to expect. There was more than 100 companies applying to get a marketing intern from BCIT, and there was only 70 students. Needless to say, it was very competitive, and very, very stressful. I probably didn’t get much sleep until after Schmooze when I finally got an offer from my dream marketing agency. Even though it all worked out for me in the end, I wish I knew what I know now. Since sharing is caring, here are some internship tips to help make your internship process go smoothly.
1. Stay humble
Understand that you are applying to be an intern who is still learning. Yes, you learn skills that is relatable to the industry, but you still have a long way to go. I think it’s important to know your worth and what you’re capable of, but stay humble. There’s nothing like ego that makes companies move on from a candidate.
2. Proofread, proofread, PROOFREAD!
I know this seems super obvious, but when you’re sending out cover letters one after another, this does get overlooked. For example, you may forget to change the company address, or the person’s name you’re sending it to. I’ve done it, and so have some of my classmates. One of the girls actually lost her chance for an interview because she wrote someone else’s name on the cover letter.
Always take another minute to go over your application and make sure you have the right information, and that you’re sending it to the right person before you hit send. You only get one shot to make a good first impression, make it count.
3. Have a top 5 list for your internship
The head of the Marketing Communications recommended this, and I cannot stress this point enough. You need to have a top 5 list. Why? Because there’s nothing worse than applying to a whole bunch of companies, getting a call back and not know which company you want, or even worse, what you want out of the internship. Yes, marketing is broad, but at least know what you’re willing to try and what you want to learn more of.
Do you want to learn more about digital or event marketing? Once you figure that out, start looking at the companies; what are they doing? How is their culture? Do their projects and clients excite you? And please, if any of your top five makes you an offer, DO NOT MAKE THEM WAIT. It’ll just make you seem like you’re not really interested and waiting for a better one to come.
4. Update your LinkedIn
Once you send in your application, the first thing that the recruiting managers will do is to look you up on LinkedIn. You will see a lot of notifications that a bunch of people have viewed your profile. Make sure it’s updated with recent information and you have a recent professional headshot. Your LinkedIn profile is your ‘face’ before they actually meet you.
5. To cancel or not to cancel?
If you’re not interested in the role, let them know in a respectful manner. This shows professionalism and that you know what you want. There’s nothing worse than not cancelling your interview, and they make you an offer and then you reject them. You’ve just wasted their time. Or, you accept, and you’re stuck doing an internship that you don’t even like. Either way, just don’t waste your time- or their time- if you already know that this isn’t for you.
6. Patience is a virtue.
I went through four interviews before securing my internship. Throughout the whole interview process, I started to get discouraged and started doubting myself. When I told my instructor, Erin, she reassured me that it was not me, and I just hadn’t found ‘my people’. Some companies set their deadlines too short, some a little longer. It will get competitive, it may take some companies a little while to get back to you, and it will stress you out. I am telling you now that even though it doesn’t seem like it, everything will work out just as how they’re supposed to.
It all worked out for me in the end, and I got offered an internship during Schmooze, from a really great company called Cossette. I am thankful that I waited even though I found it really hard.
7. Lastly, use your instructors!
My last and final tip, is to talk to your instructors for anything. They’re marketers too! They’ve been where you’ve been and they know the marketing industry and majority of the companies in the package, so talk to them. Use all the resources that are available to you to get a better understanding.
Take your time and look up every single company on that list. Think hard on where you want to learn more, try and figure out the type of culture you want to be in, and most importantly, find an internship that can help you grow. This is the chance for you to apply what you’ve learned at BCIT in the real world, and with a company that will help you start your marketing career.