How I Got My Internship

Getting an internship has always been a stressful task. Oftentimes it seems impossible and yet, you hear of other students having unbelievable internships at the top magazines, fashion companies, financial institutions, or prestigious law firms.

I never felt that I was a student with such prestige. I always ended up with an internship last minute, but am happy to now have a few on my resume. Finding an internship was never a quick and easy process so last spring I found myself, yet again, scrambling to find a summer internship. On top of the natural stress that comes with this search process I had an additional challenge; I was trying to find an internship opportunity located in Boston while I was currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I knew that this wasn’t impossible, but it definitely was tough.

Prior to leaving for Florence, and every semester beforehand, I met with someone from the Career Planning Center and established a relationship with her. My immediate advice would be to befriend someone at the Career Planning Center, as they can be an invaluable resource for interviewing skills, internship searches, and resume/LinkedIn assistance. Because I went there so often, I was able to get to know some of the career counselors who regularly sent me emails about internships I may be interested in. One of the many perks of going to a smaller school is definitely the attention you can receive if you take advantage of the resources available.

Through my friends at the Career Planning Center, and their encouragement to use Stags4Hire, I had a litany of internships to apply for. However, they didn’t limit their advice to Stags4Hire, they were also advising me to Google advertising or marketing agencies in Boston. And from there to go to their websites, check out their internship opportunities, look for programs involving work that seems interesting, etc. So I did just that. But even with their guidance, it wasn’t always easy.

In every cover letter I had to explain that I was only available via Skype or a phone call for an interview. Before even sending that cover letter, I had to ensure it was an appropriate hour at home. An email sent at 3 AM didn’t seem like the most professional way to start off an application process. And I wasn’t alone. It seemed like half of the other students studying with me, including my two roommates, were struggling with the same thing.

And this struggle was pretty brutal. I would send out scores of resumes and cover letters, all carefully read and reread by friends, my parents, and myself. And oftentimes, I would not get so much as a reply saying the company has selected another applicant. This was frustrating. At the bare minimum it would have been nice to know that I didn’t get the position rather than wait weeks with my fingers crossed. Eventually, all of my peers studying abroad succeeded in securing an internship for the upcoming summer. The only reason I got mine? Because I was persistent. After checking Stags4Hire and scouring the Internet almost daily, I finally found something that seemed like a good fit.

My opportunity was an internship program at a digital marketing firm in Boston, 451 Marketing, who was looking for marketing, social media and PR interns. Personally, I was seeking an internship program where I could work with other interns but also something that involved nonprofit work. Fortunately for me, 451’s internship program met my criteria. 

Think about your own criteria in a dream or ideal internship; does it involve working within the fashion industry, getting to be hands-on as an event intern, or does it expose you to multiple branches within the finance industry? Once you know what you’re looking for, check out LinkedIn, see if any Fairfield alums are working in an industry or at a company doing something you think you’d like and message them. There’s no reason to be shy, as a future Fairfield alum I will love to help out a fellow Stag if I can!

Once you find the dream internship, the entire application process will be easier because you’re applying and interviewing for something you think you’ll actually enjoy. Nothing’s worse than faking excitement about 40 hours a week of Excel work (unless that’s what you enjoy doing!).

Because I had ideas in my head about what I was looking for in an internship, when I discovered 451 Marketing it was a win-win for me. And so I applied, then followed up with an email, then interviewed over the phone and sent a thank you note. After a couple weeks went by, my stress was overwhelming. So I sent another email.

At last they responded. They offered me a spot in their internship program and I was in. Had I not sent that last email, which could have been dismissed as annoying by my boss, I don’t know if I would have gotten the position. Maybe, had I been even slightly more patient, I would have found out just a day or two later that I was offered the position. But I can’t know for sure.

That’s how I learned that if you want something, an internship or otherwise, a little perseverance can pay off in a big way. All this being said, if one summer or semester you don’t get the internship, don’t stress. Employers are always looking for candidates that stand out as different, so be creative because there are many ways to boost your resume!