So, I want to start this blog post by saying recruiters and people who work in your dream company are HUMANS, just like you! I think it is very easy to be scared or intimidated when talking to professionals or shooting them an email, but most people are more willing to help than you think. With that in mind, I am going to give you guys a little background on how I got the Macy’s Marketing internship before I go into detail about all my tips. One thing that I will talk about later on is taking advantage of all the things your college has to offer. You are paying for your education one way or another, and you should take advantage of the benefits. Every semester UF holds several career fairs, and my freshman year I decided to go to the main one just to get practice talking to recruiters and getting a feel for how everything worked. I wasn’t expecting anything because advertising/marketing internships are usually only available for juniors and seniors. I made a list of all the companies I wanted to talk to (including Macy’s) and did my research for each one. Of course I was extremely scared (I even remember telling one recruiter something along the lines of “sorry I am really nervous” LOL) but the more I talked to people the more I realized they understand all the feelings and have been in my shoes before.
When I got to the Macy’s booth and it was my turn to talk to the recruiter I was ready to give my elevator speech (make sure you have this down) when she was just super intrigued by my resume because it had my picture (DO NOT put your resume on your picture btw, I will talk about this later). We talked for a while when she realized I was a freshman, and it all went downhill from there. She was super disappointed (as was I) because they were only looking for juniors and seniors.
Fast forward to last year and I go again to career showcase and go immediately to the Macy’s booth (this year I didn’t have my picture on my resume). To my luck, the same recruiter that was there my freshman year was back and she remembered me because of my resume. We talked for a while about why I had taken my picture off, and she told me about a new marketing internship they were opening of only 15 people that she thought I would be perfect for. That afternoon I sent her a thank you email and 20 minutes later I got an email back with potential interview times and dates. Later that week I had my interview and a week later I got the internship!
In the meantime, I also applied to MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Internship Program) which gives you the opportunity to work in an advertising agency over summer. It is a looooonnggg application with multiple essay questions and a video about yourself. With MAIP you don’t know what position you are going to get or where you are going to be placed, so the waiting is filled with a lot of anticipation. After a very long time, I received an offer to work at DDB (an amazing advertising agency) in New York as a strategist (which is what I was to be.) The decision was very tough, and I was so happy I even had the opportunity to choose between two incredible options. I was scared because I felt like whatever way I went I was going to have FOMO for the other internship. As you may know, I decided to go with Macy’s and am super happy with my decision. Now let’s get down to business!
I am going to give you guys my tips for landing your ideal internship:
Have your own thing
Although this isn’t necessary, I think it helps a lot. I started my blog because I love fashion and writing and thought it would be fun to share my life, but it has helped me a lot during my college career. Having your own thing (a blog, Youtube channel, brand, etc.) allows companies to see a different side of you. Having something of your own outside of school or work gives you the opportunity to showcase your voice and personality. I personally talk about Rad Redemption all the time in interviews, and I am sure its one of the reasons Macy’s gave me an internship offer.
Review your resume
At the end of every semester I always review my resume and add anything new I did and take away anything that I no longer find relevant. It is extremely important that your resume and Linked In profile are up to date. Since most people’s resumes are plain black and white, I would encourage you to add a little bit of color and make it different. Earlier I mentioned that I used to have my picture on my resume. I would suggest not having it for many reasons. I have heard of companies automatically throwing away resumes with pictures on them because of discriminatory laws. For example, if I had my picture on my resume and a company did not hire me I could argue that it was because they judged me by my looks. No company wants to deal with unnecessary legal issues, so they don’t even take the time to look at resumes with pictures. For this reason, I decided to take my picture off. I wouldn’t want to miss any opportunities simply because of a picture (although I loved how it looked with the picture on it.)
Take advantage of your college/university
Every single day I discover things UF has to offer. Take advantage of all the resources your school has to offer while you are there. This may include resume critiques, mock interview help, resume printing, career advisement, company meets ups, etc. Look for events that benefit you professionally, join clubs that align with your interests, network with other students, start personal projects!
Research companies you like
Before you even get an interview it is important to research the companies that you like. Know their history, their position in the industry, new innovations they are working on, what the company culture is like (this is very important because you need to see yourself being able to work here every day), who their target audience is, etc. These things are all vital to know beforehand and give you an advantage when speaking to recruiters or during your interview.
Practice makes perfect
The night before my interview my roommate asked me if I wanted her to help me by doing a mock interview. At first I didn’t think it was necessary but then I was like why not? This practice helped me soooooooo much. I was so glad I did it. My roommate looked up potential interview questions and I would answer like if it was the real thing. It is important to have stories in mind before hand. For example, tell me about a time you had to work with someone you didn’t get along with in a group environment? Have a story ready for common questions like the one I just mentioned! Try to always shed yourself in a positive light even if the question asked involves you stating your weaknesses. Talk about your passions and practice, practice practice!
I think making connections and putting yourself out there is one of the most important tips out of all. You never know who you will meet that can help you out later on. This goes for professionals, students, and teachers. It is important to treat anyone you meet with respect and to also be available for others if they need your help in something you are able to help with. Networking is one of the most important things college taught me, and it will always be a part of your professional growth even in the future. For this reason, it is important to be confident in who you are and what you are saying. Make sure you know how to pitch yourself in order to make connections.
Say thank you!
Last but not least, say thank you! I personally am a super detail oriented person and I believe details matter so much, especially when trying to find an internship/job. Small details are what help you stand out from others. This being said, always take the time to send an email to any professional you talk to thanking them for their time. In the email, make sure they know you are interested. This is an opportunity to remind a recruiter who you are and to place your email directly into their inbox!
Finding an internship you truly love isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of prior work and involvement to stand out as a potential candidate. The most important thing is to be yourself and showcase your passions and talents! I hope these tips are helpful for you during your internship search process!
Valeria Laguna x