8 Ways to Turn Your Marketing Internship Into a Full Time Offer
If you are searching for your internship or starting one soon, make sure you keep reading to improve your chances of parlaying the summer into your full time dream job.
By JR BLASZEK
One of the best ways to break into a marketing career is to land an internship at your top choice employer. Your internship gives you a chance to experience the job for 10-12 weeks. It also gives you an opportunity to show the company you have what it takes to be a world-class marketer.
On the flip side, your internship can also be considered a 12 week job interview. Literally everything you are doing is being scrutinized. The people you talk to will all be asked for feedback, your work will be analyzed, and your personality will be tested. Oh, and by the way, your future could hinge on those very actions.
Feeling nervous yet?
The reality is that most full time marketing offers come out of the internship class. Companies really want to hire their interns because they are less risk than hiring somebody “off the street”. Knowing this, you should be excited to prove your stuff during your internship so that your employer will want to bring you back.
If you want to translate your internship into a full time marketing job, make sure you follow these steps:
1) Get to Know as Many People as Possible
In my experience, the “grade” of our marketing interns is based on two factors: people skills and business potential. On the business side, we’re trying to evaluate whether or not the intern has the knowledge and potential to hit the ground running and manage a business when they come back full time. On the people side, we want to ensure that the candidate is a good fit in our culture.
You might think that these two sides are weighted equally, but in reality they aren’t. As a matter of fact, we place about 75% of our evaluation on the “people” side. The reason we weight your people interactions so strongly is because we know that we can teach you marketing. You are smart and capable and just because you might not be 100% polished, that doesn’t mean that we can’t mold you into a great marketer early in your career. On the other hand, if you don’t get along with the people in the organization, there is no way that we can mold you into a great marketer. Your “fit” in the organization determines whether or not we want to hire you, not necessarily the project work itself.
With all of this in mind, you need to take it upon yourself to meet as many people as you can over the summer. Find mentors, friends, colleagues, etc. At the end of the summer, the more people who can vouch for you, the better. In just about every single case, a strong recommendation from a colleague will outweigh an uninspiring project deliverable when it comes to making full time offers.
2) Ask Questions
Nobody likes a know-it-all. When you come in as an intern, you are expected to know basically nothing. If you don’t ask questions throughout the summer, the people you work with will think you still know nothing at the end of the summer.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everybody is willing to help and will almost always volunteer their time to answer questions for you. Most likely, everyone working there was an intern at some point, so they all feel great about “paying it forward” when it comes to helping out an intern.
3) Set Goals and a Plan to Achieve Them
A 12-week internship goes by in a heartbeat. When you start your internship, you will think that you have plenty of time to create a meaningful deliverable that will make you stand apart from the crowd. The reality is that the internship goes by EXTREMELY quickly. There are always extracurricular events, class lunches, trainings, etc. that take up your day. Before you know it, you will be 9 weeks in and still working on your project scope.
If you really want to have a successful summer, you should begin by creating a plan. Marketers tend to live and die by timelines, so it would benefit you to create a project timeline for your summer. Keep yourself on track with your timeline and build in critical steps and checkpoints along the way. It may seem a bit unnecessary now, but trust me, you will be thanking yourself when you have that full time offer in your hand/
4) Bring Others Along With You
Like it or not, there is an element of political jockeying that happens during the summer. We all like to think it doesn’t exist, but in reality it does. You will most likely be presenting your project to a group of senior leaders at the end of your internship and then those leaders will decide whether or not to give you a job. The more leaders who know you, the better your chances of landing a full time offer.
With this in mind, you should try to talk to as many senior leaders about your project as possible. Get their buy-in as you progress throughout the summer. Let them feel as though they guided you. If you can bring these folks along in your summer progress, they will be invested in you and your project. Because of that investment, you should see a lot of head nods in your presentation…along with a job offer soon after!
5) Listen to Feedback
I have seen good candidates lose out on full time offers because they simply weren’t good at incorporating feedback into their projects. When a manager or senior leader offers you an opinion, you better make sure to at least acknowledge it. Try to relate to it during your final presentation. The more feedback you can incorporate the better. It shows that you can listen, that you respect others’ point of view, and that you can adapt to new information.
6) Stick to Your Guns
While incorporating feedback is important, you must still keep the project moving forward. Many times, you will receive conflicting information depending upon who you talk to. At some point you need to pick the best of all the information and build a story that supports your conclusion. Don’t try to incorporate all feedback just for the sake of incorporating it. Instead, you should always keep your focus on the end goal and use the feedback that you receive to strengthen the outcome of your end goal.
If you allow yourself to be pulled in multiple directions, the internship will be over before you know it and you will have nothing solid to present. Stay focused, stick to your guns, and build a story that supports your conclusion.
7) Project Positivity (Even When You’re Stressed Beyond Belief)
No kidding…I was once in a one-on-one meeting with an intern discussing her project and she broke down crying saying how hard it was. Another time, I asked an intern, who was still on her FIRST DAY on the job, what she thought of the office/city and she said, “I don’t think it’s really my style.”
Needless to say, neither one of these interns were invited back full time. Remember, as an intern you are always being evaluated…by everybody. At the end of summer, your manager will ask for feedback from literally everybody you interacted with and if you didn’t make a positive impression, that will weigh heavily on the decision to give you an offer.
You need to show up to the office everyday as if you are the happiest person in the world. Express interest, ask good questions, be curious, smile, etc. If you feel the urge to cry (and you very well could), save it for later. Regular lunches or happy hours with your intern class are a great way to blow off steam. Wait for those outings to do your venting. Guaranteed, everybody will have something to vent about.
8) Nail Your Deliverable
Most likely, you will have a clear deliverable at the end of your internship. And while the deliverable is only a fraction of the decision on whether or not to give you a full time offer, the intern that nails their deliverable will almost always be given an offer over the intern who doesn’t.
Most marketing internships end with some type of presentation on your findings over the summer. Usually, you are being evaluated on 3 characteristics that are critical to marketing:
– Analytical Abilities
– Strategic Thinking
The presentation is an opportunity to showcase all three skills and blow the socks off your audience. The best way to do this is to become a master storyteller. A great storyteller draws in the audience, leads them to conclusions, and keeps the audience engaged throughout the entire presentation. Great storytelling is a skill that requires practice. If you can master the skill, however, you will be well on your way to landing a full time marketing offer!