How to Land Your Dream Internship
By Alicia Harris
You can do it. That dream you have of landing your dream internship is possible. If you would have told me four years ago that during my college career I would intern with two of the largest advertising agencies in the world, I most likely wouldn’t have believed you. However, this past summer I did the unthinkable and worked next to the same creative geniuses that I have read about in marketing books for years. Through my experience interning in New York City, I have been able to teach my peers the hustle of the internship process. Here are four tips to help you land your dream internship.
1. Start With What You Have
Every college has a career center staffed with individuals who are ready and willing to help bring your dreams to life. Reach out to the faculty members at your school and get them on your team. The more people you reach out to, the better chance you have to make a connection in the field that you want to be in. Alumni love their alma mater and usually are always looking for ways to give back. There are several different social platforms that assist in helping you to find these connections and interact with them. LinkedIn is a great tool to easily mine for the alumni from your school that work in the specific field that you wish to be in. A great way to break the ice is to let them know that you are interested in their career path and ask for a 30-minute informational interview. This is the time to rack their brain with the questions that you may have about how they made it, and it is also a fun and easy way to expand your network.
2. Be Open To Opportunity
So your dream is to intern with the world’s largest women’s magazine? Well I am here to tell you that it is possible. However, sometimes in life we have to go around the status quo. Maybe you were not able to get an interview with Cosmopolitan. However, there are other opportunities that you can take to help you get there. Find another company that will provide you with meaningful experience and connections to help you get to where you want to be. Whatever your dream job or internship is, carefully plot your strategy to get there. Gain the experience from another opportunity to be able to market yourself even better for when you finally get that coveted interview. Find ways to interact with those who are in the position, company or job that you want. This can include interns, junior level or senior level employees, and even the front desk receptionist. You never know where networking will lead you, so leverage the connections that you can make to get your foot in the door.
3. Find A Way Around It
There will be various obstacles that you will face during your internship search, however, whenever one door closes you must open another one— and quickly. Do not let finances or housing costs be a deal breaker. There are various opportunities and scholarships that help ambitious college students break out into their careers. Marketing EDGE, Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP), and even various agencies have developed programs that greatly lessen the cost of interning in a major city. My first internship in New York City provided me a $4,000 award upon acceptance. Although this may seem like chump change to some New Yorkers, this financial relief can be drastic and provide you with the means to birth your dreams faster than you think possible. Many students neglect to fill out these applications, which leaves thousands of dollars on the table! Constantly be on the lookout for different opportunities to help lessen the cost and also the doubt that you may have about affordability.
4. Be Relentless
Getting your hands on that dream internship will feel daunting at times. Some days you will feel like the Intern Queen, and other days will make you question your own identity and self-worth. However, on day one of the intern search, you must convince yourself that you will not quit. You must decide that you will fight against all the odds until you land the internship you want and finally having your full circle moment. During my last internship search, I created a mantra that I performed in the mirror every time I felt doubt start to plague my mind. The words were simple but powerful. “Through hell or high water, I am going to make it.” Create your own motivation and be relentless when going after your dreams.