How to Gain Relevant Work Experience
This blog is written by Ashley, our Campus Ambassador from University of South Florida. She is majoring in Mass Communications with a minor in Leadership Studies.
I’ve always gotten this question, how do you get all these internships!? Do you have connects? Do you go through an agency? And my answer will always be you must do your research! This is one of the most important initial facets in finding those internships!
Since I was 13 I knew the field I would love to be a part of and get a career out of. Since that age I started a family newsletter, although I stopped publishing it. Since I was 19, attending community college, I started interning in media related industries to gain experience. One thing led to another and now I keep gaining some awesome experiences because I go out and seek greater opportunities (be proactive!).
Point of the story is, first, it would be awesome if you know the field you would love to go into. Secondly, once you have an idea, research companies you would love to intern/work for. Apart of your research should include, but not limited to: company name, website, contact info (email, phone, fax, contact name, and address), deadlines (yes internship apps do have deadlines!), requirements (recommendation letter, cover letter, transcript, resume) etc... Thirdly, once you have your list and depending on deadlines, go ahead and start your application process. Please note that it depends on each company how their submission policy works. For example, you can submit your resume and application online and others may go as far as mailing in a whole packet that may consist of applications, resume, cover letter, recommendation letters, transcripts, etc (I had to go through that). Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “it’s like applying to college!” but if you want it, you’ll do it. Fourthly, hopefully you’ll have everything needed to apply for the different internships. Go ahead and send out your internship apps (beware of deadlines!). Fifthly, follow up with these apps. The follow up process can make a hell of a difference if you follow up or not. Of course many places will say they don’t accept phone calls, so keep that in mind. You can follow up through email or through the internship program face book page if they have one (be professional!). Sixthly, wish for the best!
These are just a few generic but useful steps into helping you start your internship career, and honestly this is pretty much the process I always use for myself. I just lastly want to stress how important it is for you to do your research in more ways than one, watch deadlines and submission requirements and to follow up! Trust me when I say; following up can really make a difference between you and another intern. I’ve had that be a positive deal breaker for me with two internships so far with MTV Networks and BackSlash Magazine.
Best wishes and happy interning!