How to score an internship when you're a student
So in case you haven’t heard, these days, I’ve applied to two different companies in the Social Media industry to get an internship next year.
The first one? <a title=“Seesmic” href=“http://seesmic.com">Seesmic, a company that created a really good Social Media Management tool to get your feeds from most social networks in one place. So who’s the second one? <a title=“iCrossing” href=“http://icrossing.co.uk">iCrossing, a global digital marketing agency that has offices all over the world. As I’m writing these lines, I want to point out that none of these companies have accepted me yet, but it seems likely that both do offer me a position as an intern. An easy question is simply: How did I get as far as I am today?
First of all, let’s keep in mind that I’m not a genius who graduated from High-School at 14, I didn’t start my first company at 18, and I never had any computing classes until I attended University in September 2009. So what are the things that you need:
1. Being the best is only optional
I’m certainly not the student with the best grades at University, and also in High School. I’m rather average. I’ve been average my whole life so far. But I am studying an area that I’m passionate about. It even annoys my girlfriend at times. I’m not even working yet I’m a Social Media junkie.
You don’t need to be the best at everything. You need to step out of the crowd, and you need to show that you know something about the area you’re interested in. Experience or skills for a job are not what matter the most. In my case, I know that I’m looking for a 12-months internship. The company has a long time with me, so they have enough time to give me an adequate training and to help me learn how to do my job. What they are really looking for is someone who can bring something to their company.
2. Scream, Get The Word Out, and Listen
If you want to step out of the crowd, you need a way to express yourself. In the Digital World, it’s now ridiculously easy, as you have several ways to do this: a website, a facebook page, a twitter account, hell, even without a website you can do this : an <a title=“About.me Tibz Thibault Lemaitre” href=“http://about.me/thibaultlemaitre">About.Me page or <a title=“Flavors Me” href=“http://flavors.me">Flavors.me account is more than enough!
Yet the best way is definitely a blog. A blog helps you give your personal insight on a definite topic that appeals to you. It also shows that you know how to express yourself and most importantly, that you know how to WRITE (and read) PROPERLY. In France we have a huge problem with people being less able to read, because of several things (NB: Instant Messaging and Texting being the most common reasons, even though we now have free texts everywhere, so there is no longer a reason to slash words)
Also, a blog shows that you’re not afraid of taking sides in a debate, that you’re not afraid of ‘speaking’ your mind. It shows off your personality. This is important to an employer. To this, you can add anything that make you stand out of the crowd, like a portfolio if you’re into design, or just anything you can think of that is accessible, visible, and demonstrates your set of skills.
3. Do It Yourself and don't wait on the world.
When comes the time to applying for a position, you must not be afraid to make things happen for yourself. Go send emails, interact with Twitter users and send Direct Messages to agencies. No one is going to look for you, but you can make yourself visible. Contacting a company shows off two things: first, it shows that you’re able to take initiatives. Secondly, it shows that you have an interest towards the company, its industry, and shows off your motivation regarding the area.
In my case, I directly contacted <a title=“Loïc Le Meur” href=“https://about.me/loic">Loïc Le Meur</a> from <a title=“Seesmic” href=“http://seesmic.com">Seesmic, and <a title=“Mark Higginson” href=“http://twitter.com/#!/markhgn">Mark Higginson</a> from <a title=“iCrossing” href=“http://iCrossing.co.uk">iCrossing. I didn’t know if they had any position, but I explained my current situation and asked if they had any availability and if they were interested. I made sure to send them links to my <a title=“iTibz: website” href=“/”>website</a>, and <a title=“Tibz.co contact & social” href=“/contact”>social networking</a> page. Once they contacted me back, I made sure to keep in touch with them. If they didn’t answered after a bit of time, I’d make sure they hadn’t forgotten me.
So go ahead: contact people from companies in which you are interested. Use LinkedIn, companies’ blogs, twitter account… There are just so many ways to get in touch with people today!
Bonus: Interview Tip. You've made it to this point. Well Done!
I don’t really have a lot of experience with interviews, but my local barber actually gave the best advice regarding an interview.
It’s very simple, but what you have to do, is to include something with your CV when you present yourself to the employer. For example think about a creative business card or a pen with your website written on it, anything will do. The point is that by the end of the day, when the recruiter is done with several interviews, chances are that he will still be fidgeting with your pen. Before he leaves the office, he will remember you, you are nearly guaranteed not to be yet another name on a pile of CVs.
Most of us students at the University of Brighton are trying to apply for a placement. It’s not too late but those who haven’t started yet need to spend some serious time on it.
Are you guys applying for an industrial placement/internship? Did these advices help you in any way? Do you have anything to add? The comments are opened to any feedback or suggestion. Let me know what you think.