The summer before senior year of college is no joke when it comes to your career. Not that any other summer is either, but it’s a pivotal point when preparing for your post-grad future.
For some undergraduate students, this internship may result in a job offer. This typically applies to students going into finance, consulting, accounting, and even engineering. In my field of marketing, it’s usually more about experience and connections.
I had a few companies in mind when I began my internship search in September. My #1 goal was to work at Jellyvision as their marketing intern because of their strong branding, great product, and impressive growth.
They’re known for ALEX, a communications software that helps people make smarter financial decisions when it comes to benefits, leave of absence, and more. They’re ranked high on lists of best places to work in Chicago, high growth companies, and have a female CEO. Since I want to work in tech startups and even be an entrepreneur one day, Jellyvision was a no-brainer for me.
But, Jellyvision has a high application volume and competitive interview process. They rejected me last summer and knew that I’d have to push harder to get my foot in the door this time around. So, here’s what I did to turn last year’s no into this year’s yes:
1. I took every opportunity to get more marketing experience.
Even though I’ve had a few internships under my belt, I wanted to make myself a more competitive applicant this year. I took a deep dive in researching the makeup of marketing teams at different tech companies. I wanted to see the different positions and skills that people had in the careers I wanted.
Over the last year, I took on different freelance projects in branding, writing, design, and strategy. I chose classes that developed my creativity and became involved in my school’s advertising agency. I even pivoted from the performance/dance side of theater to produce, which tapped into some marketing skills. Basically, I took what I loved and found a way to spin it into valuable experiences.
2. I networked, and not just with Jellyvision people.
Networking is important when it comes to building your career. I’m always trying to meet interesting people that can help me and that I can help too. Going into tech, female mentors are especially important to me. I reached out to professors, past internship connections, and anyone I could that could give me an intro to another person.
I did a ton of informational interviews, which armed me with advice — and by coincidence, connections to Jellyvision.
3. I reached out before they posted their marketing intern application.
This step took guts: I cold emailed the recruiter from Jellyvision I had spoken to last year. It was early January, and I knew they wouldn’t post for a while. I was already pretty far along in the interview process with other companies. So I wanted to make sure I was in front of mind when Jellyvision posted their internship.
Jellyvision wasn’t the only company I cold emailed either. I actually reached out to many companies, even ones I hadn’t interviewed in the past. Some of these emails led nowhere. But, a bunch of them led to interviews and interesting opportunities.
4. I applied to other positions.
Even though I really wanted Jellyvision, I made sure to keep my options open. I made sure I had backup options that I liked, and actually applied to over 100 internships.
If you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot,” you’re not wrong. It was definitely a lot of work because I put in the same amount of energy into every cover letter and application. That high volume helped because it gave me the option to reject companies that were a good fit on paper, but not the best culture fit in interviews. It gave me the flexibility to be as picky about the companies as the companies were about interns.
5. I heavily researched the company.
I researched every company, but I focused more as I progressed in interviews. At Jellyvision, an important step of their process is what they call an audition. This is a fancy word for testing the skills you’d need in the job. I made sure that I learned everything I could about their product, people, and branding so that my work not only showed off my skills but naturally fit in with the company.
It’s a short list, and I’m sure there are plenty of other factors that helped me land this internship. Hopefully, this list can help you if you’re working towards your dream job. I’ll definitely be referencing it in a few months when I’m applying for full time, actual marketing jobs.