Internships 101: A How-To from a Seventeen Blogger

Internship application season is coming up which means you have to apply to a billion places, stress yourself out with resumes, cover letters and interviews, as if you don’t already have a bunch of other things to worry about. You might even find yourself asking, “What the heck am I doing?” Or “How do I start?” Here is a guide I’ve come up with that I hope you will help you collegiettes land your dream internship. I landed my dream internship at seventeen.com for the spring semester, which is also my last. So in sharing my personal experience, I hope my tips will help you and ease the process for you!

 

Dream Big.

It may sound cliché but I think it’s necessary. If your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough. Ever since I was a kid, I always dreamed about working in the city for a magazine. I have Jennifer Garner in “13 Going on 30” and my 100+ magazine collection of J-14M, TwistCosmo Girl, and of course Seventeen magazines to thank for that. Also, I thank my late teen phase where I’d follow my fave celebrities around and try to snap pictures with them. I love the entertainment industry so that’s why Seventeen turned out to be a perfect fit for an internship. My point is, find something you love and try to make a career out of it. The more you love what you’re doing, the more motivated you’ll be to find something in your field.

 

Research.

Try and do your research at least one semester before the semester you hope to intern. If you’re looking for summer internships, right now is when you should be applying to them. Google is your best friend as well as our school’s Career Department Services. I found my internship outside the school, by going to the websites of the places I wanted to intern at. I remember literally typing in “Seventeen magazine internship” on Google. It led me to a link that directed me to deadlines and contact information. I also asked HCM collegiette, Tanya Eligur for tips, who was interning for Seventeen while I was in the process of applying. Remember, it’s always good to ask for help. You’re not expected to know everything, hence why you’re in college. Speak to your advisors. Try and see if you can find something with the help of the school, or outside the school. But the important thing is that you try and become well informed as soon as possible so you don’t miss any important deadlines.

 

Prepare.

Make sure you have a resume and cover letter prepared. For your resume, try and keep it as clean and organized as possible. List all the qualifications that you find related to the internship you’re applying to. If possible, try and keep your resume to a minimum of one page. You don’t want to clutter your resume so always keep the most important qualities and accomplishments. For the cover letter, you’re simply stating why you want to intern there and why you believe you are the adequate candidate for the position. For my cover letter, I simply stated my passion for Seventeen. I started out with talking about how I’d run to the magazine aisle at Target when I was a kid in excitement and hopes that my mom would buy me the Seventeen issue of that month as well as my love for the website which I still read today. Make sure you’re being true to yourself. I think my cover letter worked well because it was customized to each place I applied to and it was honest. Each of you has something unique and special to offer. Make sure you can show that. Why do you want this position?

 

Apply Everywhere.

Seventeen.com is my first internship but it’s definitely not the first place I applied to. I’ve applied to places like Z100’s morning show, Nylon, MTV, etc. and I never got a reply. It’s important that you don’t take it personally but keep applying. Like with anything, the more places you apply to, the more chances you have of a better outcome. 

 

Be Persistent. 

Personally, I think this has been my most valuable lesson in this entire experience. I’ve learned if you don’t give up, you’re going to reach your goal. It may not always be what you had in mind, but it will happen somehow and if it doesn’t, something good will come out of it. So for my experience, I submitted my application for seventeen.com two days before the deadline, which was November 15. On December 17, I received an e-mail from the person in charge of the internship, who is now my supervisor. She basically asked me if I was interested in an interview. I had my phone off for most of the day because I was trying to study for finals, so I finally saw the e-mail the next day at 2AM. I freaked out and started screaming, waking my mother up. I couldn’t believe I even got contacted. To me, applying to Seventeen was kind of like when you apply to a school you don’t think you’re going to get into. I was pleasantly surprised. So, we e-mailed back and forth and set up an interview date for the end of the week. That morning of my interview day, my now supervisor got sick, so we had to reschedule. We planned to reschedule for the following week but nothing was set. This obviously made me scared because now I’m thinking this isn’t going to happen anymore. I e-mailed and called several times and got no reply. I gave it a break during the holidays. And after the holidays, I was about to give up but I went with my gut feeling and sent one last e-mail. I stated that the semester was about to begin and asked if I could please go in for an interview, if it’s still being offered. Luckily, I got a response. I had my interview one week before the spring semester started. The interview went well, and I got the “You got the internship,” I had hoped for all along. Always keep in mind that the people in charge of the internships are super busy; they probably have a million other things to do so it’s important that you remain patient, persistent, as well as respectful. I was determined to get this internship so I wasn’t going to give up that easily. If you want something, go after it until there’s nothing else you can do.

 

Interview Tip. 

Be yourself and dress to impress. It’s totally normal to feel super nervous. I sure was. I remember walking in for my interview and all I could think about was dreading the handshake because my hands were so sweaty. (Gross, but it happens.) After a couple of minutes, I calmed myself down by reminding myself that it’s just an interview. If I don’t get it, it’s going to really suck but it’s not the end of the world. So just think of it as a normal conversation. Answer the questions to the best of your ability and hope for the best.

 

Get in Contact with the School.

College internships require that you’re eligible to receive college credit. So to make this process easier, inform yourself early on. For me, since everything happened so last minute, I made an appointment with the Director of Career Services at MSU for the first day of classes. At first, I had no idea how to even get in contact with this person. But I literally went on MSU’s website and typed in “English (my major) internships” on the search engine which led me to a link of all the information I needed. I then e-mailed the director of career services for the department and I explained my situation, and set up an appointment. I had a small scare and almost didn’t get the internship (again) because everything was so last minute and there was a lot of paper work to get done in 2 days, before I was expected to begin. I recommend you do this part at least one month prior to your internship's start date so you don't stress yourself out and risk not being able to participate. Even if things aren’t looking good right away, stay positive and don’t give up. 

 

Learn from The Experience.

There’s a lot of time, feelings, and hopes invested in the application process but it’s important that no matter the outcome, you try and learn something from the whole experience. You may not get your dream internship right away, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. All it means is that it wasn’t the right time. Just keep applying and don’t give up. If you do get it, that’s awesome. Absorb everything you learn and take it with you for the next journey, which is what I’m currently trying to do.

 

Ask Your Peers. 

If you know someone who has been through this process, don’t be shy to ask questions if you have any. We all start somewhere so it’s totally normal to feel clueless. I hope sharing my personal experience has helped you. If you have any further questions, about my internship or anything else, I’m more than happy to help. Just e-mail me at [email protected]

 

* Here are some helpful sites I used in my application process that may help you:

For Seventeen contact + internship application info 

For more internship tips 

For info on the school application process (MSU CHSS majors) 

For places to intern