Illustration by Murat Kalkavan from Ouch!

Breaking into a marketing career can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the industry. Whether you are fresh out of college or looking for a new work path, one of the best ways to get started is by applying for marketing internships.

There are plenty of marketing internships available, but there is also a lot of competition, so it’s important that you understand the process and what it takes to secure a marketing internship.

To help you get your foot in the door, take a look at the following step-by-step guide. This will assist you in landing your first marketing job and help you progress your mastery of the craft.

#1 Choose Your Marketing Niche

When applying for marketing internships, it’s important that you determine which area of marketing you are most interested in. This will help you narrow down your options and will also allow you to focus on specific area, rather than just knowing a little about everything.

Choosing a specific area may be hard, especially if you like various aspects of marketing, so you should start by selecting three options from the following marketing areas:

  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine marketing
  • Website development
  • Email marketing
  • Print/radio/TV marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Product marketing

There are plenty more to choose from, so it’s up to you to conduct further research to find out what interests you and how you can lend your skills to these specialisms.

#2 Upgrade Your Resume

Once you’ve decided which areas of marketing you want to work in, it’s time to upgrade your resume to reflect your interests, experience, qualifications, and skills.

Start by upgrading your resume template with a stand-out design. You can find plenty of templates on Canva and jobs sites. When choosing a design, you should try to choose something that reflects your personality but still looks professional.

Once you have your design finalized, you should then start to layout the content.  Now write a compelling personal profile that will help your resume that’s crazy effective. This should offer a small insight into who you are, what you want in terms of a career, including your main aim to become a marketing intern.

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You can then list all of your qualifications, skills, relevant experience, and more to back-up your well-written profile.

#3 Work on Your Portfolio

The majority of marketers have their own portfolio to showcase their work to potential employers. Even as a new marketer with little or no experience, you can create a small showcase.

You may think that it is pointless to start up on an online portfolio without any experience. But that’s the wrong way to think, as you can always showoff work from school or even passion projects.

Include links to your blogs or social media pages where you may have uploaded engaging written or video content. And even include some links to content you think is great (just be sure to credit the source). And you can also improve your online portfolio by asking local businesses if you can promote their brand on your blog or create a social media marketing plan for them.

#4 Grow Your Network

Another great way to get noticed is by networking. Networking helps you to meet important and interesting people in the marketing industry.

You may find this nerve-wracking at first, especially if you are still a student who feels they don’t have much to say. Don’t make that mistake. Everyone has something to share and networking is a way to show off what you’ve done or what you’re interested in. Be entrepreneurial and just go after it.

A great way to network as a marketing beginner is by simply asking questions such as ‘how did you get started in marketing?’ or ‘What would your advice be to someone starting off their marketing career?’. This will not only offer some inspirational advice but may also pique some interest from fellow marketers who are on the lookout for entry-level prospects.

#5 Create Engaging LinkedIn Content

After networking with the right people, make sure you make contact with them on LinkedIn and to grow your connections on the platform.

Once you’ve established a few connections, you should start to create marketing-related content as well as insights into your search for the right marketing internship. Your experience will help you relate with other entry-level marketers as well as higher-level executives who may be able to offer you some career advice.

Posting regular content on LinkedIn may also attract the attention of companies and potential employers who may be advertising marketing internships. You may get lucky and receive a message, or you can reach out to businesses yourself to express your interest.

#6 Choose the Right Companies

Whether you are applying for marketing internships on job sites or taking the direct approach via LinkedIn or email, you need to make sure you choose the right companies.

To do this, before you reach out do your research. Start by looking at the company’s website where you will find everything you need to know about the business, including what they do, who they are, and what the brand values are. You can then decide if the business is right the right fit for you.

You should also think logically when selecting a business to intern with, as you may want to go straight for the big brands. However, they are not always the best places to start, as you may end up feeling like a little fish in a big pond.

Instead, you may want to opt for a small to medium-sized business that can offer a great experience. This will also allow you to get to know everyone better, which will make the experience much less intimidating.

#7 Research the Brand

Once you have narrowed down the companies that you are going to apply to, you should start to research each brand thoroughly. This will means that you learn about what makes them tick. Figure out what the culture of the organization like. Try to understand what they expect from their employees as well as understanding the type of people they employ.

You might even consider connecting with a few of the employees who work at the company and speak with them to get a better understanding of the business.

When researching, you should also pay close attention to the job description if it’s available. This will include snippets about the company, what the job itself involves, and what they are looking for in a candidate. Studying this will help you with any application and interview planning, as it shows the business your attention to detail and also your ambition.

#8 Be Prepared and Plan Ahead

If you are invited to an interview, you need to make sure that you are fully prepared, especially if you are applying for an overseas internship. For example, in the USA, you can apply for a J-1 visa which lasts up to twelve months for both paid and unpaid interns.

In relation to the actual interview, The best way to prepare is to make sure you know the company inside and out. It is also vital that you note down all of your experience and compare it to the job description to show how your skills can benefit the business. You should also think of some examples of your experience and how it relates to the role.

Have some questions prepared to showcase your initiative and interest. For example, ‘What would a typical day on the job involve’ or ‘What are the business objectives for interns?’. And maybe ask about the culture of the organization or the challenges the company is facing. Hiring managers often prefer the hard questions over softballs.

#9 Market Yourself

You’re trying to get a marketing internship, right? So during the interview, you should market yourself as much as possible. Imagine you were writing an ad or blog post for yourself, what would it say? This will show the interviewer that you are confident and eager for the role.

When marketing yourself, you need to be able to find the right balance between being confident and overzealous. Confidence sells. Being bossy doesn’t.

The best way to market your skills is by presenting your unique abilities and how you can bring them to the table. You should also discuss specific examples from previous work or your time in school where you have excelled at something and how this level of commitment and drive can be utilized during your internship.

#10 Be Confident in Your Value

You might find the interview process for marketing internship challenging. However, If you are lucky enough to get the job, then the hardest part is just about to begin.

The best advice for succeeding as a marketing intern is to be confident, but not cocky, at all times. This can be hard, especially when working alongside those with more experience. But, you can learn from them and absorb all the information you need to progress your career.

Remember, your goal as an intern is to learn. Use this opportunity to learn about every aspect of the role so you can decide what your future career path works. And don’t be afraid to learn you want to do something else. Plenty marketing interns before you figured out they didn’t want to do marketing. Better to learn that before you spend 10 years in the career.

Are You Ready to Start?

Now you have an understanding of marketing internships and what to expect during the application and interview process, so why not just get started on the job search? You never know, you may find something that immediately sparks your interest, which could lead you well on your way towards success in the marketing world.