Advertising Internships: The Facts

In my more recent posts, you may have noticed that I work in the advertising business. Although I have primarily been focusing on the advertising side of things, I have also been trying out a bit of marketing and social media and have really been enjoying it all! At the moment, questions about Advertising Internships seem to crop up a lot so I thought I would do a pretty in-depth post on it!

Firstly what the hell even is Advertising? The reason I was drawn to it in the first place is that it seemed pretty varied, and from what I have witnessed so far it is! The idea behind Advertising is to gain publicity for the brand you are working for, they call it gaining ‘coverage’. Whether it be in magazines, newspapers, on the radio, on blogs – the list is seriously endless! The aim of the game is catch people’s eyes and get everyone talking about your product, so it’s about being creative through writing copies, organising launches and setting up advertising ‘Stunts’. There are 2 types of places you can work at in advertising: Agencies, these are companies who look after a number of different ‘clients’ (aka brands), and so focus on working on the advertising for all their clients, or you can work ‘In-house’ which is where the brand does the advertising themselves, so the brand employs staff to work in-house with the rest of the company to do the advertising. Of course all the tasks mentioned above is the job spec when you hit the top of the game, at Internships you start at the bottom of the pile, so be prepared to make a few cups of tea 😉

Before you start looking…

Be prepared! Once you start applying for roles you can often expect to be called for interview at very short notice, so if you are at a job already it may be worth warning them of your plans! Also Advertising Internships are mostly unpaid, although you can expect your travel expenses to be covered by them, so it’s a good idea to have some cash in your bank before you start as you may be looking at a 3-6 month period without a wage. Most Advertising Internships are in Mumbai, that’s not to say they aren’t offered elsewhere in the country – they are just a bit more few and far between. So you may have to be prepared for quite a long commute. It’s also a great idea to keep your CV up-to-date, cause as I said these things seem to happen quite quickly. I’ve seen people ask on Twitter whether they should mention their blog on their CV and if it’s relevant, the answer is YES! Especially in the case of Advertising Internships, they want to see that you are passionate about Advertising, and if you can say that you have written about it almost daily for a year or so, that is going to work in your favour!

On the hunt!

The most asked question is ‘Where did you find your Internships?’, well there are a few places you need to be checking. I found my first one on the ‘AFAQS’ (link), in fact their are some Internships positions being advertised there right now – go go go! If you work in advertising you will come to know AFAQS rather well, it is a huge ‘Yellow Pages’ if you like for everyone in the advertising industry. Another website to try is ‘Social Samosa’ (link), although it doesn’t update as often as AFAQS, it still has the odd Advertising Internship advertised on there. I found my second Internship directly through the brands Twitter page, so it’s worth following as many advertising brands as you can on Twitter, especially those which you would like to work for! Many brands tweet when Internship or Job opportunities come available so it’s worth checking your timeline like a hawk for any announcements. Another good idea would be to follow Advertising agencies on Twitter as well as they tend to do the same thing. Just type ‘Advertising’ into the search bar at the top and follow all the results! It may be worth dropping them an email with your CV as well to see if they are looking for any Interns.

The Dreaded Interview…

Interviews don’t have to be horrible, and remember at the end of the day you are most probably being interviewed for an unpaid position, so it’s never going to be the most intense interview ever! The main traits people want to see in advertising are confidence, organisation, creative flair and good writing skills. As you can see blogging definitely shows your creativeness and writing skills, so try and get that in there at the interview – I definitely think that throwing that in at both of my interviews helped me to secure the Internships 🙂 Interviews are a 2 way thing, so it’s good to have some questions to ask them – ‘what will a typical day for an Intern be like?’, ‘how many people work at the company?’, that kind of things always goes down a treat. It’s also good to ask how long you would be expected to Intern for (the usual is around 3-6 months), and what they can offer for expenses (both of my Internships covered my pretty hefty travel expenses – Rs.4000 a month, so don’t let a company fob you off and only offer to cover a measly amount!).

What to expect!

Be prepared to apply for about 50 Internships +, but in the end you will finally be offered one (optimism pays off ladies!), so what can you expect? Well there is no general rule as to what an Advertising Internship entails. I guess my last Internship was the epitome of Internships – sending emails, printing off labels, keeping their databases of contacts up to date, but I did get to write the odd strategy. And even though the actual tasks that I was performing weren’t exactly enthralling, the experience you get just from noticing what is going on around in the office is great. Yes, you may be making colleagues cups of tea and yes, you will be sending countless emails everyday, but you have to remember that everybody has to start from somewhere, even the people at the top of the company probably did a few internships themselves! Just be enthusiastic and proactive with everything that is thrown at you, who knows they may even offer you a job at the end of it! But if not, don’t despair – get back in the horse! You may feel you are ready to start applying for jobs but if not, just apply for another Internship. There is no rule about how much experience you should have before you are ready to get a job, but I’m guessing the minimum experience would be around 3 months. The industry is extremely competitive so the more experience you have to show the better! While you are at your Internship, remember to keep your CV up to date and also it’s a great idea to keep a diary of the tasks that you do each day just so you can pick out the best bits to pop on your CV 😉

Right, so that was a bit of a ramble! I hope this helps some of you, but if I have missed something out and you have another question, pop it in the comments below and I will give you an answer 😀