Having a marketing internship can make or break your chances of landing a job post-graduation. Participating in an internship can help you get a ton of industry experience and knowledge—knowing what to look for and where to look can be the key to landing a top-level internship.
So, why do international students need to participate in marketing internships? Well, if you haven’t already heard, it is EXTREMELY rare that you will be hired with zero marketing experience and without any connections whatsoever. This is where the first reason to participate in a marketing internship comes in.
Your professors can lecture all they want but when it comes down to it, it’s up to you to put what you’ve learned to the test. No one is going to do their job perfectly the first time they try, so this is why internships are so great—you have the opportunity to gain industry experience that will better prepare you for when you begin your professional career. It is better to make mistakes or take the extra time to learn something new during an internship as opposed to doing so at your first job; with such a competitive job market employers won’t always give you the benefit of the doubt and say “don’t worry, you’ll get it right next time,” they want results and a marketing professional who can get the job done—put in the extra effort, participate in a marketing internship, gain a lot of experience and knowledge, and then use it to become an awesome marketing professional!
Another great reason for international students to participate in a marketing internship is for networking purposes. Just think about all the people you’ll be able to meet during an internship! You’ll be working with a supervisor, other people in the office, you’ll probably also deal with clients, public relations or business professionals, and the list goes on and on. Your internship may involve you going to company events or conferences too—these are all great opportunities for you to connect with other industry professionals and establish relationships with them. After graduation you just might be able to call on them for a recommendation, get your foot in the door or an interview at a marketing agency, or they could even end up as one of your future employers. During your internship make sure to meet as many people as possible, establish and foster business relationships when possible, and always ask for a business card!
What to look for and where to find it
Now that we know why we should participate in a marketing internship, let’s answer the “what” and “where” questions associated with the search for the perfect internship. The basic things you should look for in an internship are:
- At least an 8 week internship, preferably with a full-time schedule. Don’t forget you can participate in summer marketing internships if you’re too busy during the school year.
- Try to make sure that you’ll be able to learn important skills and gain industry knowledge from your supervisor and the internship experience.
- Look for internships that involve collecting and analyzing data, marketing research, etc.; tasks like these are extremely important to becomes a successful marketing professional—the more experience you gain doing things like these the better!
As for the “where” when it comes to finding a good internship, start with your school. Most universities and colleges have a career services office that helps students find internships and jobs. Usually you can visit your school website and check what listings they have available.
You can also go to professors or alumni for advice and help when it comes to internships, they should be able to point you in the right direction. Also there are many websites that list interesting internships in your area of interest, existing summer marketing internships near your school or in other states, and if you visit the webpage of any major company they usually have internships listed in the careers or employment sections of their website.
International students who participate in an internship can really improve their chances of getting a good marketing job once they graduate. Not only will you be able to gain a lot of important knowledge and experience, but you’ll have the opportunity to network as well. If you’re too busy during the school year you always have the option of participating in a summer marketing internship as well. Choose a great internship, get a lot of experience and knowledge, and then use it to get a job and be successful!