7 Ways To Land a Media Internship

Cherry Laithang / Unsplash

Cherry Laithang / Unsplash

By Khadejah Stegall

Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.

You know that feeling when you are applying for an internship and you’re hoping they just want you to fill out the application and add your resume? Then, you see they want a cover letter, recommendations, essays, and you become overwhelmed? I feel your pain!

Applying for internships can be stressful, especially when you have no idea if you will land it. Although it gets stressful, experience is everything. If you don't dedicate hard work for the application, how can a company expect you to work hard for them? If you want experience, internships are a great way to be exposed to your field.

Here are seven tips on how to land your first media internship:

1.   Update your resume and website as much as you update your Snapchat

If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. If you meet a recruiter, are you ready to show or email them your resume at that moment? Always carry your professional portfolio with you.  If someone wanted to take a look at your professional website, is it updated?

In media, they could care less about your GPA or your experience on campus. No one wants a 4.0 student with no media experience. A 3.0 student with a huge portfolio will succeed a lot better.

Always let other people in your field read over your resume and if you can, find a recruiter that’s in the industry pertaining to exactly what you want to do.

2. Make sure your LinkedIn pops more than your Tinder app

Get rid of that selfie and take some professional headshots for your profile. Your LinkedIn and website are tools that could land you opportunities in your sleep, so be sure it pops. Look at someone’s LinkedIn profile in your field. See how theirs look and always ask for feedback.

3. Join an organization or career prep program that has partner companies

While there are some who have found internships by just applying directly to a company, I’ve found that being a part of an organization that partners you up with companies can be a huge help. These media organizations equip excellent diverse talent so their partner companies have built a trust with them to hire exceptional talent.

If you are a part of an organization and they send your resume to a partner company, they are more likely to look at your resume as a priority rather than you applying randomly among the 700 other general applicants. Here is a list of programs/foundations you can look into:

T-Howard Foundation, MLT (Management Leadership for Tomorrow) Career Prep Program , Emma Bowen Foundation, NABJ (National Association of Black Journalist), and Inroads

4. Seek informational interviews

One thing many students don’t take advantage of are informational interviews. An informational interview is when you reach out to a professional to ask them about their career journey and get to know a little bit about what they do now. Be sure to prepare questions for them. This is a great way to network and learn about opportunities within the company. Informational interviews could land you your next job or internship. Always be sure to follow up afterwards and check to see how the person is doing. To read how to reach out to someone for an informational interview and more tips read here. (INSERT LINK for article on informational interviews)

5. Practice for the interview

When you learn that you received an interview, be sure to practice. Call someone that you know and perform a mock interview. It helps so much and it will help with your nerves. If you don’t have time to perform a mock interview with someone, practice in the mirror, with InterviewStream, or one of your professors.Trust, it helps!

6. Take advantage of your resources and local media businesses

A lot of people try to go for the big media companies. Sometimes you have to start small. Start with local news or entertainment media companies in your area. Once you have that on your resume, it will be a lot marketable because you have knowledge of how the business works. To give an example, I reached out to the local CW station in my town to intern in their creative services department. It was an unpaid internship but that experience helped me get my paid internship at BET Networks in their creative services department.

7. Create your own opportunity

If you don’t land an internship, it’s not the end of the world. There are ways to stay productive if you didn’t land an internship. (INSERT LINK to article on staying productive without internship) You can still start a vlog, blog or ask to shadow someone. People love when you take initiative when an opportunity isn’t presented. Not only can you give a time where you took initiative in an interview, but you can build your portfolio on your own time.

Realize what’s for you is for you and sometimes you may have not been ready for that opportunity. Although it is challenging to obtain your first media internship, it is very possible. These seven tips will guarantee you an internship if you put it in the hard work.

Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com