Internship Tips from a Current Marketing Intern Part I: Applications and Interviewing

Part I: Applications and Interviewing

One of the most exciting moments in someone’s college experience is when an application turns into an interview, and then an internship offer. It can be exciting and terrifying all at once. When I first started, my biggest excitement was that my career was starting. I felt like all my work in college had finally paid off. However, my biggest fear was not being good enough, and making mistakes. It’s a common fear that a lot of students and peers my age face. When you’re young and are invited to spaces where much more seasoned professionals sit, it can be scary. However, I’m here to reassure you that there is so much hope in this process.  

I want to share a few nuggets of wisdom, peer to peer, of what I’ve experienced applying for internships, and then during my time at ChamberRVA and RVA NOW as a Marketing Coordinator Intern.  

Starting the Process 

Tip #1: Getting started can often be the hardest part of any task, however, your journey does not begin until you embark on it. Take this time to update your resume and portfolio and take advantage of your college’s career services. They can help you look over your resume and portfolio and make recommendations. 

Tip #2: LinkedIn is an important tool in the 21st century professional world. It’s great for keeping in touch with the connections you make at school and in the workplace. Here’s a great resource from The Muse on what recruiters look for in your LinkedIn profile

Tip #3: Along with making a LinkedIn profile, often comes the concept of personal branding. Everyone has a life story and a photo of themselves. Personal branding is expanding that into a professional narrative. It’s quite literally marketing yourself. Here’s a guide from Indeed on personal branding.  

Tip #4: You’re going to want to figure out what internships you’re applying for. Depending on your industry, there may be different sectors, for-profit or non-profit, and different roles to consider. So many choices, so much opportunity, but reflect on where you truly want to work, and what roles you would excel in.  


Tip #5: Plug in your online job board searches to “Most Recent” and start at the top. The fresher the listing, the best chance you have at scoring an interview. 

Tip #6: Compare your skills and personality traits to the qualifications and criteria. If you know that you’re slower but more detail oriented about your work, and the internship is looking for “fast paced individuals that can handle multiple deadlines,” be honest with yourself. Find something that will work with your personality and work style, you don’t have to force yourself into a role you wouldn’t fit well in.  

Tip #7: Consider cover letters as your first introduction before ever meeting the recruiter/interviewer. They may or may not be required, however, they are a way to make a great first impression. If you’re writing a cover letter, find the person who will be reading it (if that information is available, of course), and address it directly to them. Being personal and doing your research goes a long way. If you have never written one, here’s a how-to from the Harvard Business Review. 

Tip #8: Take your time with applying. Make sure all parts of your application are complete each time, and if there’s optional parts of the application, always fill them out. 


Tip #9: It’s show time! You’ve secured the interview, and now it’s time to shine. Along with bringing your brilliant words and ideas to the interview, an interview appropriate outfit is important. When in doubt, always dress up. I would suggest leaving the crocs at home. This article from Indeed talks about different types of business attire.  

Tip #10: Scanning the organization’s website and social media is a great way to prepare for the interview. I would take a few notes to make sure your interview answer responses are tailored to the specific internship and the organization.  

Tip #11: At the end of the interview, the interviewer will usually ask if you have any questions. This is a great opportunity to ask the interviewer/recruiter about their organization, and it’s a chance for you to learn more about them. I’d suggest preparing these questions in advance, based on the organization. Some examples include… 

“How would you describe your organization’s culture?” 

“How is your organization modernizing to keep up with current trends?” 

 “What do you personally like about working here? If you could, would you make any changes?” 

Bonus Tip:

As you go through the application and interview process, I’d also suggest keeping a document that keeps track of your applications and interviews. If you have multiple offers, weigh the pros and cons of each. Always stay true to yourself, and never take an offer that does not align with your goals and aspirations. Not every internship is for you, and that’s okay.  

You may go through some rejection, and it can be frustrating and discouraging. Never take it personally and take time to mourn the loss. When I was applying for internships, I got rejected after 2nd round interviews for a position I would have been incredibly passionate about. I was sad, and it felt more personal than it was. However, two weeks later, I secured my internship at ChamberRVA. As I said before, there’s so much hope in this process.  

In my next blog, I’ll be covering tips for when you secure your internship! 

Danielle Cassell is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Mass Communications (B.S.) with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business. She is currently a Marketing Coordinator Intern at ChamberRVA and RVA NOW.