An internship in the advertising industry can prepare an individual for eventual full-time employment by deepening understanding of the industry, offering real-world experience and, possibly, developing valuable contacts. The best advertising internship typically is a match between the prospective worker’s skills and desires and an opportunity that offers current and possible future benefit. Choosing the best internship is a process of inventorying personal skills and desires; researching available internship opportunities; and conducting additional, informal research on a narrowed field of possibilities.
Advertising is a diverse field where practitioners can specialize in print or broadcast, design, written communication, online advertising and more. The best advertising internship will be a mach for the individual’s preferred area of work in the industry. Typically, the later years of a university education become more specialized. The focus of the course work in these years can be a good guide as to what type of advertising internship should be pursued.
As there are different types of work in advertising companies, and there also are different types of companies. Some advertising firms are international in scope and work on global campaigns for major companies. Other ad firms are local, providing a range of services to a narrow list of clients. A person desiring a career with more hands-on interaction with decision makers should consider interning at a small firm, while a person desiring association with global brands should consider a larger firm.
Personal needs also should be taken into consideration when determining where to apply. Some applicants only want paid internships. Many applicants desire to work near a particular geographic location. There also are applicants who desire a more general approach and need an internship offering an overview of the career field. Narrow the field of companies with which to apply based on individual career and personal goals.
A variety of resources can help advertising internship applicants find opportunities. If an applicant is in a college or university, that is often the best place to start, networking with professors and placement officials. Visit the web sites of the individual firms selected in the first part of the process and determine if they have internships and how to apply for them. Firms where the applicant has a personal connection should be explored first as advertising internships are competitive and networking can help. There also are services that offer to connect applicants to internships, but the applicant should carefully review the firm’s reputation and success rate before paying anything.
Once firms have been selected, the applicant should informally investigate the narrowed field to determine the benefits each offers. This can include talking to former interns, informally talking to company employees and detailed investigation of the firm online. The best advertising internship will not only offer an opportunity to do work in the desired area of the industry but will also be a personal and professional fit for the applicant and offer the first step toward a possible job with that firm or another.