A Marketing Student’s Guide to Landing the Best Social Media Marketing Internships

May 2019
 minute read
group of college students working in a coffee shop

With Communications and Marketing being named CNN’s 3rd and 7th most popular college majors respectively, you already know that landing an internship in your field isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Not only are social media marketing internships competitive, but it feels as though most internships are looking for someone who already has a year or two of experience in the field (which, let’s be real, kind of defeats the purpose of an internship). At Responsival, we get it, and want to help provide you with the tools you need for a great career in digital marketing. That’s why we’ve created a guide to landing the social media marketing internship of your dreams. Here we’ll breakdown the obvious and the not-so-obvious in getting a social media marketing internship, providing you tips on:

  • Building a Solid Application
  • Putting Together Your Portfolio
  • Nailing Your Own Social Media Presence
  • Finding the Internships Themselves

Building a Stand-Out Application for Social Media Marketing Internships

Market Yourself and Your Skills with a Stellar Application

Creative resume for a graphic designer

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When it comes to almost any internship, you’ll be required to submit the following materials: a resume, a cover letter, and (sometimes) an application form. For many internships, an internship coordinator will receive more than 250 applications within the first 48 hours of posting an internship. This doesn’t leave much time for the coordinator to read your skills -- which means it is super important to stand out.

Your resume is one of the first places in which you can make yourself stand out amidst the pile of applications received. While this doesn’t apply for most fields, entering a creative industry with social media marketing leaves open the possibility to use graphic design to make your resume stand out. This should not be overly flashy, but we know that solid design can enhance a reading experience. Find this balance and roll with it, but be sure to keep an unembellished copy of your resume on hand -- just in case.

Here’s a tip that will last for the rest of your life: always include a cover letter. Even if the employer doesn’t ask for it. Even if you have to dig up an email from the depths of a website to send it. In the digital age, we are applying for social media marketing internships on a whim, submitting our applications through LinkedIn in a matter of seconds. But if you want to show true initiative and interest in the internship, always be sure to include a cover letter.

In a Creative Industry, Prepare a Portfolio

Show Off What You're Capable of in a Social Media Marketing Internship

Online portfolio

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If you’re applying for social media marketing internships, chances are your involvement in STEM was limited throughout your career. The truth of the matter is that your application process is notably different than students in the STEM industry and it takes more than good grades and a decent interview to land the position. You need proof. You need results. You need a portfolio.

The problem is that it can be difficult to build a portfolio without the results-based experience to report on that a previous internship or job would supply. If you’re looking for things to include in your portfolio, dig through your school projects and pull your best pieces of work -- even if they’re art projects, graphic designs, or simply a paper you wrote.

If even this doesn’t feel like enough, prepare something for your company you’re interested in interning for. When applying to a social media marketing internship, consider conducting an audit of the company’s current social media or designing a print ad for a new product or service they are releasing. Taking the time to show off your skills and add value to the company through your portfolio is a great way to stand out while interviewing.

Check your Own Social Presence

Prove Your Social Media Knowledge for Social Media Marketing Internships

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We’ve all heard it; more than 70% of employers will look at your social media before deciding to hire you for a position. When you’re applying for social media marketing internships, you can bet that number is closer to 100%. As an obvious portion of your screening, the internship coordinators are going to want to see that you can - at the bare minimum - run a personal social media account. Here are some tips to being in control of your fate (minus embarrassing middle school pictures -- nobody is in control of those).

  • Obviously, be careful what you post. A company will not want to see you bad-mouthing your part-time job on Twitter and certainly does not want to know every gruesome detail of your Friday night. That being said, don’t be afraid to show some personality.
  • Be sure that all of your profiles are completed. The baseline for social media marketing internships is that you are able to run a social media account. Show that you can do this on your own by having header images, clear photos, an about me section, and some form of contact information on your platforms. To start, make sure this includes your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Interact with industry-relevant content. Landing an internship isn't all about skills and experience -- many companies want someone with the ambition to succeed and work hard. Show you’re interested in your field of study by sharing blog posts from leading social media blogs and interacting with accounts that are putting out high-quality content. For bonus points, retweet or share a social media post from the company itself.

Where to Find Social Media Marketing Internships

4 Places to Look for Social media Marketing Internships

girl interviewing for a position

Now that you have the tools necessary to apply for a cool internship, it’s time to start applying. When it comes to applying for internships, though, it can be hard to know where to start. It’s important to consider whether you want to relocate for your internship ($$$), what kind of company you want to work for, and the number of applications the company will receive (because Google will receive thousands of applications, but your local marketing agency may only receive two or three dozen). Here are our recommendations, in order, in how you should search for an internship:

  1. Check Your School/Department’s List of Internship Opportunities: Your school or major likely has a mailing list that sends emails about internship opportunities. These are a great first step for a few reasons. For starters, these companies are actively looking for interns like you. These companies likely contacted your school to send an email to students, meaning they already know that your education and abilities are likely aligned with what they are looking for in an intern.
  2. Search for Local Businesses Looking for Interns: Start looking into companies with a ‘careers’ or ‘opportunities’ page on their website (psst.. probably all of them). If you’re interested in interning for the company - even if they aren’t actively advertising the internship - send in an application. You’ll be competing with a smaller candidate pool and increase your chances of landing a social media marketing internship.
  3. Search for Local Businesses Who Maybe AREN’T Looking for Interns: If you want an even SMALLER candidate pool, send an email to a company that isn’t necessarily looking for interns. This should be done sparingly but could be especially effective if you find that you are passionate about the company and its mission. On the company website, find a hiring contact email and send an email inquiring about a (let’s be real, unpaid) internship for school credit and attach a copy of your resume. Worst case scenario: they say no but your resume is already in their hands for future opportunities.
  4. Online Internship Listing Sites: Online internship listings are likely the easiest to find, but it’s important to remember that you’re far from alone in applying for these positions. These websites are great resources, but don’t be afraid to apply to internships via alternative means.

Final Tip: Don’t be Afraid to be Bold

Sometimes that Little Extra Personality is All You Need

the fearless girl statue and a potential intern posing the same way

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While you should always be polite, sometimes it takes a little extra push to land the social media marketing internship of your dreams. People have gotten jobs by pulling crazy stunts, sending their resumes on cases of beer, or pretending to be a statue outside of the business. These may be excessive, but if you have an idea that could help you land the internship you want, it’s almost always worth the risk.

Looking for great design and social media marketing internships? Check out the career opportunities at Responsival and see how we can help launch your future in digital marketing.

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