The Hustle: How to Find an Internship
If you’re on the hunt for an internship- you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the first edition of “The Hustle: Advice from Us”. The Hustle is The Light Leaks’s newest resource tailored to YOU! Ask us questions, if we can’t answer from our own experience, we’ll find someone who’s able to. From creative block to actionable career steps, hit us up with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org with “the Hustle” as the subject line. We got you.
Let’s get to it: Internships! They’re pretty mysterious. Seems to have one, be looking for one, or somewhere in between. Don’t know where to start? No worries, this edition is being answered by our founder, Kim Hoyos. Kim had 8 media internships during her time at school- from NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, to MTV, various startups and creative offices she’s been around the block. You’re in good hands.
- The Light Leaks
Hey, it’s Kim Hoyos. Speaking entirely from my own experiences, I’m going to share how I was able to hunt down internships. I just graduated in May 2018 so I’m not too old (yet!).
1. Hone in on What You’re Looking for and Say “Yes”
There’s thousands of internships online. Step one is absolutely to sit down and outline the things you’re looking to learn, the things you know, and the things you want to accomplish in your life. Even if you’re able to fill out 2 out of 3 of the above, you’re in good shape. The rule of thumb for anything professional- if you don’t have a slight clue as to what you’re into and what you’re hoping to do, it’s very hard for others to respond to that. It makes it more difficult for people to say ‘yes’ to you if they don’t know what you’re saying ‘yes’ too. And this doesn’t mean you have to know exactly what title or department you’d like in the future. Personally, I believe more in sizing up what responsibilities you’d like (data management, video editing, PR tasks, social media, production) rather than a job title (creative content intern, social media intern, comms intern, etc). A job title can mean different things at any company so by honing in on what you’re looking for, you’re able to better read descriptions of jobs, identify what you’re saying ‘yes’ too.
2. Understand Your Financial Logistics
You have to make the hard decisions early on. Due to how the film / media / creative arts industries are, do the financial footwork. Can you afford to do a for credit internship? Will you work part time or freelance? Can you do a paid internship in a different city and relocate? Does a remote internship appeal to you? Answer these questions honestly for yourself. It’s tough but it needs to be accounted for.
3. Do Your Research
A common question I’ve heard surrounding internships is how to even find them and I know this bullet will seem very cheesy… but… finding an internship is about being yourself! You may be asking yourself “how can I be myself? I have to be successful because then how will I get a job after school?!”. Been there, literally was there 10 months ago as I walked across my graduation stage, literally sweating partly due to the May heat but also because I was still unemployed.
I did 8 internships and a ton of freelance work during college. I found all of my internships by thinking about who I was as a person: Feminist, Creative, Funny, Energetic, Tough, Young, Motivated. I looked at who I was, the brands I already enjoyed, the topics I loved, and the places I already consumed media.
Whether it’s a clothing brand, website, makeup, tech company, or any other product physical or digital- there is a team behind that product creating, marketing, financing, and distributing it. Be you. Do you love Urban Decay makeup? There’s someone creating their IG stories. There’s a department for that. There’s an internship for that. Are you obsessed with a specific podcast? Reach out and see if they need an extra hand. Call your local news station and see if they have any openings. Jobs are all around us. Seriously.
Number one place to check for an internship is the company’s website, it should be the most up to date and accurate. Plus you’re applying directly to their HR system. Just google search “NAME COMPANY careers” and it should be on the first page results. I’m also a huge linkedin lover! Social media is a treasure trove of careers. Just go to the search bar and look up your city and ‘intern’ and results will come up. I’ve also known a lot of people to get work off of staffmeup.com, indeed.com, and entertainment careers.
If you don’t feel like you have a ton of experience, a great way to get an internship is to work for a department, club, or professional organization at your school. My first internship was at the Rutgers Institute for Women’s Leadership, it fit all of my interests, was in walking distance, allowed me to skip out on a class for the semester, and gave me something awesome to add to my experience. I was the media intern so I organized and wrote out guides for their social media platforms, did some data capturing and saving, and helped out with digital activations.
PS: I actually got my fulltime position off of a tweet I saw. So like, you’ll be fine. I promise.
4. Prep Materials and Keep Track of Apps
We’ll get into cover letters, formatting, and resumes in another edition of the Hustle. But when you have those goodies all together, and you have your list of companies you’re applying too- keep everything organized on a google sheet. By keeping track of where you’ve applied, when you applied, if you heard back, and what the position is for- you’ll be able to keep organized with interviews, status updates. and other info like company contacts. This will help you not double up on applications, know where you want to apply next semester, and it can even turn into the backbone of the places you’ll reach out to when you graduate and need a job.
Yes, it seems obvious- “of course I need to apply”. But it’s not that easy for a lot of people. Career paralysis, imposter syndrome, procrastination- they get to the best of us. It’s okay. It’s okay to have doubt. It’s okay to have fear. It’s normal to feel weird when so many growing pains are happening. But you will not get an internship if you don’t apply. You won’t be chosen if you’re not choosing yourself and saying ‘yes’ to something. A lot of people reject themselves from jobs and internships by not applying because of one of the above reasons but it’s not your job to reject yourself. It’s your job to invest in yourself and to try. It’s free to apply to an internship, so you need to shoot your shot. Don’t go overboard and apply for more than you can mentally handle but also know that applying to a ton of places and not getting word back is normal. You’ll get a lot of ‘no’s’ but you’ll also hit those ‘yes’s’. It’s hard but you can do it. I believe in you.
6. Chill Out
Try your best to stay calm. There’s always time to learn, grow, and gain experience. I know it sometimes feels like everything’s moving so fast and you don’t know up from down. But it’ll get better. The only timeline that matters is yours. Things happen when they’re supposed to, not for when we plan them. Career exposure, the university system, privilege, and a slew of other things will contrive to make finding work confusing and more difficult. But you got this. Just remember to take breaks, drink water, and grab snacks. Applying for internships is not a sprint, it’s slow and steady so find your chill.
Until next time,
The Hustle is The Light Leaks’s newest resource tailored to YOU! Ask us questions, if we can’t answer from our own experience, we’ll find someone who’s able to. From creative block to actionable career steps, hit us up with your questions at email@example.com with “the Hustle” as the subject line. We got you.
all images used from unsplash