I was wholeheartedly convinced it would be impossible for me to land a marketing internship at a massive entertainment company like Paramount. Given I had only minor internships with start-ups, and my resume was quite scattered (I dabbled in marketing and digital marketing, teaching, creative writing, editorial and law), it seemed out of the realm of possibility for me. Plus, UCLA has no marketing or business major, which made me feel like I had no chance of competing with students from other LA universities who did. But I did. I landed a summer entertainment internship at Paramount, and I’m now wholeheartedly convinced it is absolutely possible for any college student to do the same. There is a daunting mysticism around landing jobs in entertainment, with many believing that you have to have crazy connections or be a nepo baby to do so. As someone who applied to my internship conventionally online, I am here to assure you that this is not the case.
There are countless ways to find incredible entertainment internships, including browsing LinkedIn and following companies you are interested in, and joining Handshake (a sort of LinkedIn for college students) to do the same. If you want to go the extra mile and be a stalker like me, you might even check out the LinkedIn of other students at your university who landed cool internships and see what kinds of other extracurriculars and activities they are involved in for guidance. Following or going into your university’s career center for advice can also be helpful, and attending job fairs and industry nights at your university can be great opportunities for networking and for finding job opportunities. I landed a nearly year-long legal internship (that I absolutely loved) just by attending a UCLA job fair and talking with the law firm’s representative. Joining clubs and signing up for their respective email lists, Discord or Slack channels can also be a great way to network, get advice and learn about internship opportunities. I’ve also found social media to be helpful, with accounts like Internship Girl and Intern Queen offering both internship opportunities and advice.
Once you’ve identified internships you’re interested in applying for, having a strong resume and cover letter are crucial. To get started, check out templates your university’s career center offers and make a good draft. I’ve found that simple, black-and-white resumes and cover letters are strongest because a lot of large companies now use automated programs for initial screenings, and colorful or unique designs are often read incorrectly. After you have some drafts, go to as many sources you can for second opinions and proofreading; ask your parents, your friends (preferably those who have landed good internships themselves), your counselors, your college career center and even any mentors you might have for advice and tips. Be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter for every unique internship you apply for, highlighting the experiences that are most related to that internship. Even if your experiences do not perfectly correspond to the internship you are applying for, if you can explain how you will use the experiences and skills you have had and apply them, and highlight why you are interested in and well-suited for a specific internship, you have a strong chance. Remember, internships are entry-level positions—you are not expected to know everything; you are expected to want to learn everything.
Interviews are much more simple than you might think. Although I do not recommend this, I never practice for interviews. Simply researching the company, writing a list of your experiences you want to discuss, preparing a few good questions and knowing why you want to intern at the specific company can be plenty. Interviews should be natural and conversational. Your interviewer is a person, too. They want to connect with you, to learn about you. They certainly do not want to be bored. A two-way conversation that leaves your interviewer feeling good is key. Make sure to follow up with a nice email after the interview, and include a few specific points or ideas you discussed to show them you are interested and were paying attention.
There is a lot of stress around internships these days. It’s not all unfounded. You will likely have to apply to tons of internships before you even get an interview. But, I promise you, you will. If you stay organized, interested and passionate about the positions you apply for, you will get a great internship.