How to Land a Social Media Internship

This is a guest blog written by Adam Britten, a recent grad of Syracuse University, who is part of our Intern Queen Blog Network. Adam starts his post-grad internship at American Eagle very soon! If you attend Syracuse University and would like to contribute - please comment on this blog.

So you want a social media internship?

Social media jobs seem to be everywhere right now. Given the fact that our generation has grown up using these emerging technologies, some companies are defaulting to our experience. It's easy to assume that any member of Generation Y is a natural fit for a social media internship, but this isn't exactly the case. Companies are looking for specific skills, not just a presence. If you are on the hunt for a social media internship, make sure you adhere to the following tips:

Try your hand at any platform you discover

Everyone has a Facebook, so that's not going to impress anyone. If you want an internship in social media, I'd say that twitter and Linkedin accounts are a must. On top of that, I'd recommend registering for an account on tumblr & foursquare, and you should seriously consider starting a blog on Wordpress or Blogger.

Keep it clean

Social media symbolizes the face of a brand. No company wants to hire someone that they can't trust to represent their organization in a positive, professional manner. Take some time to go through your Facebook pictures making sure that you are “putting your best face forward.” Think twice before complaining about your current job on tumblr, and never under any circumstances tweet under the influence. (You don't want a Red Cross situation on your hands.)

Introduce yourself

In the social media realm, getting the attention of the right person can be a huge deal. Twitter is a great opportunity to virtually network with people in your desired industry. Instead of just sending a resume, you should follow employees of the company, especially anyone who might have authority over who is hired. Don't be afraid to start talking with them; ask questions about the company, comment on articles they publish, etc. Once they start to narrow down the candidates, your name will already be in their head.

Amplify your presence

Why not take the last suggestion one step further? Think outside the box, and you'll certainly be a candidate to remember. If you take the time to make a video for your prospective employer, there's a good chance they will take the time to watch it. Check out this article to see what one job seeker did in order to catch the attention of Krispy Kreme's marketing department. He was contacted within hours of starting a “hire me” campaign, and just days later he got the job.

I can personally attest to the fact that these tips work, when appropriately executed. I was hired as a Student Social Media Strategist for Syracuse University without ever talking to my future boss (except on Twitter, of course.) I followed her on Twitter, starting engaging with her, and soon enough I had a job offer in my direct messages. This summer I will be working as a Social Media Marketing Intern at American Eagle Outfitters. The day after I applied, I got a call from their campus recruiter saying that the department manager had looked at my online resume and read of a few of my blog posts before I even submitted my application. (I had been following her on Twitter as well.)

The important thing to remember is that even though this is a relatively new type of position, you can't go in unarmed. Companies are still expecting you to show that you are well qualified. Even if you don't have any professional experience working with social media, you can still prove that you are the best candidate by maintaining a strong, professional presence on a variety of networks.

@AdamBritten is a recent graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in marketing management.