Searching for (and getting) a Great Internship – Shannon Livewell

This week Shannon offers advice on how to search for and apply to internships, and gives some tips on succeeding once hired!

Searching for an internship can be a daunting task. There are many things involved when it comes to finding the right one for you and sometimes it is hard to know where to start. My first piece of advice would be to choose the division within your industry that you are most interested in. Personally, I like to think about classes I have taken that have discussed areas of the music business that I have caught my attention, or even jobs that I have always found interesting and would like to know more about. This summer in particular was very different for me because I simply could not choose between two areas of the music industry. I knew I loved radio promotions and I wanted to continue to grow in that field, but I also wanted to find out more about the music publishing business after an industry class I took last semester piqued my interest. I knew I had to decide fairly quickly, which one I wanted to accept, and then I realized it wouldn’t be impossible to do both. I have had an extremely hectic summer, but I wouldn’t trade the things I have learned for anything.

sony atv logoAfter figuring out what area you’d like to complete your internship in, it is important to pick companies that specialize in that field. Do not lower your standards or settle for anything other than what you want. With this sort of search process, you get out what you put in. I think the important thing is to start earlier than everyone else. Most people look for internships in early April when they want to start in late May. If you reach out to a company in February and continue to follow-up with them, they are going to know you are truly interested and care about working for them and that is a major benefit.

You can never email too much. Well, that’s a lie, I guess sometimes you can, but the bottom line is to be persistent. If a company says they will get back to you Monday and you haven’t heard from them by Wednesday, send them an email to follow-up, or check on the status of your application process.

When you finally land an internship, be sure to adjust to the environment of that company. It is easy to feel like you are simply a kid in the workplace and that you do not need to keep up with the pace of everyone else. However, acting like you fit in is key, even if you don’t feel like you do. For example, at my Sony ATV internship there is a morning coffee routine. Most of the employees head over to the kitchen area when they first come into work and fill up their coffee cup or make a small breakfast, and for the first week I felt out of place being over there. By the beginning of my second week however, I realized that being over there was a chance for me to acquaint myself on a more personal level with the people in my department and it helped me to feel more relaxed in such a professional environment.

If I had to offer one last piece of advice about the internship process it would be to put in as much work as you possibly can with the time you are given. Sometimes with an internship it is easy to sit back and browse the internet if you have not been given a task in a while. Sometimes that may feel like the easiest thing to do, but you’re not learning anything and that is a waste of your own time. If you continue to put in time and effort with an eagerness to work and learn, it will set you apart from the rest and hopefully lead you to better opportunities in the future.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday morning to read more about Shannon’s internship experience!

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