I unintentionally became OBSESSED with internship work during the summer following my sophomore year of college. There was something about learning in a professional environment that validated everything I’ve been working towards my entire life. I spent every semester in an completely different industry picking up on things I could never be taught in business school.
The desire to learn more meant that I was on a job hunt every couple of months. I jumped from an unpaid internship in tech to email design in advertising to merchandise planning in retail.
By the end of senior year, I was knee deep in digital marketing for brands like SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Nickelodeon.
People always asked me, “Where do you even find this work?”
The first time I actually applied this “internship knowledge” was during the grueling entry-level job hunt after graduation. I thought of every single way I stumbled across internship applications used it to my advantage.
This is what I did:
I told everyone I knew I was looking for a job. Don’t assume even your parents know specifically what kind of job (or internship) you’re looking for. Give them specific details of your job interests so they can brag more efficiently (because they’re probably going to do that anyway). You never know what family member or friend will be willing to submit your resume to HR or give you a referral. People love to help!
Other people you should mention your job hunt to?
- Your friends
- Their friends
- Your family
- Your family’s family (cousins, dude)
- Current/past professors
- Your peers!
- Internship supervisors (past or present)
- Everyone that asks “what have you been up to?”
Once I started doing this, I had a steady stream of people reaching out looking to help. My mom’s friends. My boyfriend’s mother’s friend’s daughter. A woman at Nickelodeon that OVERHEARD ME TALKING TO SOMEONE ELSE and offered to give me a referral. It was crazy!
I spammed myself with job alerts. I received Indeed.com email alerts every morning, early afternoon, and night for several different job titles that were relevant to my line of work (social media coordinator, digital marketing coordinator, etc). By catching the job posting within a few hours of it going public, you have a much higher chance of getting your resume noticed. I also received notifications from LinkedIn and local marketing agencies I was registered with.
I didn’t rely on job sites alone. Companies don’t always list their job openings on sites like Indeed and Monster. If you are passionate about working in a specific industry, or even a single company, bookmark career pages and check them as frequently as you receive job alerts. Some companies, like J.P. Morgan, offer weekly emails that list new job openings, but by then it could be too late.
I utilized my school’s career services before I graduated. Local businesses oftentimes hire exclusively from certain universities, which you may know from attending a career fair. Take it one step further by visiting your school’s career services center to meet with an advisor to identify specific human resource associates or alumni you can contact directly through email to increase your chances of getting noticed.
I used my internship to meet more hiring managers. If you’re majoring in a pretty broad field, like I did in marketing, chances there are so many professionals in your radar that you can connect with. By holding informational interviews with managers and directors at my internship at Nickelodeon exposed me to people that could potentially hire me one day. At the very least, you can expand your network and learn about potential career paths.
I kept in touch with professionals I no longer worked with. This is obvious, but I felt like I should include it. I still check in with my past managers every couple of months or so to catch up. Simply asking how they’re doing makes you a decent person and keeps you fresh in their mind.
The job search is undoubtably a numbers game more than it is a streamlined process. I can’t even tell you the number of applications I filled out. Eventually the strategy worked and I landed my first entry-level job back in New York City.
And which tactic landed me back in The Big Apple?
Tactic #1: Tell everyone you know you’re looking for a job.
I reached out to my cousin. More specifically, it was my third cousin once removed. She submitted my resume and I landed an interview for a job that wasn’t even posted yet.
That, dear reader, is a different story for a different day.