08.02.2019 Blog

5 Steps to Getting the Internship You Want

A Sells Agency Intern Blog by Kat de Sonnaville

We all know those kids who seem to have it all together - the students with straight As, a stellar internship and a remarkable resume. I remember sitting in the back of the class my freshman year wondering how I was ever going to make it in advertising after college. It seemed like everyone already had experience, and I didn’t even know where to start.

So I took a leap of faith and emailed an upper-level professor I’d never met before. I asked her for advice on finding an internship. Apparently, that was all I needed to do to get the ball rolling. We met for coffee and she put me in touch with an upperclassman, who helped me score my first internship as the multimedia intern for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas.

I’ve had three internships so far, including this one at Sells Agency. I’ve found out that companies are actively seeking interns to bring fresh ideas and extra hands to their projects. You just have to know where to find those opportunities.

Here are my tips for finding (and landing) your first internship.

1. Find a Mentor

Just like I found with my professor, sometimes you just need one connection. Finding a mentor is, in my experience, the most important part of getting any internship. Mentors are people who have a lot of experience, a lot of connections and are willing to take time to help you work toward your goals. They can be your professors, advisors or even your parents’ friends. It might feel intimidating at first to ask for advice from someone busier, more important and more experienced than you, but it never hurts to try.

2. Make Connections

It’s much easier to get an internship if you know someone in the industry you’re considering. Internships at marketing agencies can be competitive and hard to land. It ALWAYS helps to know someone. I like to use LinkedIn as a resource for making and keeping connections. Next time you meet a new face at work or in class, try to find them on LinkedIn and leave them a message saying how much you enjoyed meeting – it’s not weird, I promise. Any connection, even a small one, could steer you to the internship of your dreams.

3. Put Yourself Out There

You’ll never get your dream internship unless you’re willing to put yourself out there. Landing a competitive internship can feel like chasing closed doors. But having a willingness to go for it and apply to a wide variety of programs and companies is the key to finding one. Even just sending an application in can get your foot in the doors somewhere. You never know who you’ll meet through the application process. Who knows, your ambition and drive today could be the reason you meet the connection you need tomorrow.

4. Never Stop Improving

Let's say you finally score an internship and you LOVE it. You could see yourself working there someday. If that’s the case, do what you can to distinguish yourself as an intern. Use the opportunity to ask questions, to use new resources and to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you’re curious about something, ASK! Don’t get too comfortable with the title “intern.” Instead, show that you’re hungry for growth. Internships are temporary, but the impression you leave will still be there when it’s time to look for a job.

5. Keep an Open Mind

At the end of the day, you need to be open to any opportunity that comes along. No one gets their dream internship overnight. Your dream internship may not happen overnight, but your ability to change your thought process and be open to opportunities you never considered is what will get you to where you’re supposed to be. Work harder than everyone, and show people you’re willing to go the extra mile. You never know where hard work and an open mind can take you.