I remember the first day of my first major New York City internship. I woke up about three hours before I had to be there for the big day. My outfit had been planned out weeks in advance. I wore a dress I bought with my mom on a shopping trip for the sole purpose of buying something to wear on my first day.
I landed an internship at a celebrity news and gossip website that is run by a woman who has been editor of more magazine titles than exist today. I wasn’t only nervous about working with powerful and highly influential people in the media industry; I was also nervous about my competition. In college, I served as an editor/reporter at the university’s independent newspapers and writer for various websites. I knew I was qualified for this internship. But who else was just as qualified as I was? About 12 girls who had the same experience (or more) as I did and had the same goals in mind: to make a lasting impression on this publication’s staff, to network in the industry, and to land a job after graduation. That, after all, is the purpose of internships, or so what we’ve been told, right?
That first day I arrived, I had no idea what to expect. As the editor-in-chief walked in the office with commotion surrounding her, she asked right away if an intern could assist her at an event. I had just walked in and barely made it through proper introductions with the staff — and paused to see if any of the other interns were going to volunteer — before my hand shot up in the air, and I anxiously said, “I will.” My intern supervisor helped me gather what I needed to bring, a video camera and digital camera, and told me not to let her resume make me nervous. The magazine’s editor-in-chief was just a normal person like the both of us, my supervisor assured me, and I was lucky to have volunteered to go to this event with her.
One year later, and I’m currently employed at that same publication. I graduated college about a month ago and moved to NYC to start my first real job one week later. I’m not here to toot my own horn, though, but rather to help you, interning collegiettes™, garner the same success I did. There were days when other interns did better than I did. And days when I thought some of the other girls were more qualified and even more intelligent than I was. But they didn’t get the job after the graduation. With my own advice, advice from collegiettes™ around the country, and the words from our very own career expert, here’s how you can stand out in your internship when the competition is cutthroat.