Sometimes you want to make a splash, and you have to bend the rules a bit. Here are five steps to formulating a cool/crazy plan of how to get your dream internship – the unconventional way.
1. Research for Personalities within the Company
Not being a college student can really suck in the internship business sometimes. We recommend doing some intense research on companies that allow underage/overage students to intern. Focus on one person or a small group of people. Make sure that company/person has a reputation of being laid back and fun; Google them until your heart is content. Most importantly, know your audience, because though making a splash can be a great way to get noticed, you can also receive negative feedback if executed the wrong way. We suggest reaching out to people known for their outsize personalities like Mickey Boardman or Robert Verdi, and staying far (far) away from Cathy Horyn and any one who works at Vogue.
2. Investigate Their Interests
The internet is a gift from the gods to those who are researching for an internship. Find out what those aforementioned personalities like to eat, what music they listen to, what hobbies they have, how they dress, what they did before they worked there, where they grew up, where they went to college, etc. Look at their Instagram/Twitter/Viddy accounts. Find out absolutely everything you can. The more information gathered, the less likely you are to completely screw up when finally making your move.
3. Formulate a Killer Plan
Take what you’ve learned so far about your target and brainstorm ideas. If they went to Northwestern for college, buy a Northwestern t-shirt, ombre dye/stud/rhinestone it and then iron on letters that say: ‘Can I be your Intern?’ Make it cool and something they would want to keep or remember. I know someone who created four intricate hand-made Valentine’s Day cards with a full poem, cover letter and resume inside to send to the editors of her favorite magazine requesting an internship. The feedback was positive because the time spent on the project was apparent. Here’s a hint: If they have Instagramed/tweeted/blogged about something kitschy someone has made them in the past, they are a good choice to reach out to.
4. Limit the Flash
Yes, you always risk the chance that your favorite stylist might think you are a creepy weirdo, but that’s only if you take it too far. We don’t suggest you mail things to anyone’s home address, don’t add them on Facebook, and don’t wait outside their building. Always keep it professional, because in the end, you want to be seen in a professional light.
5. Follow Up
Two weeks later if you haven’t received a response, shoot them a quick email that should go along the lines of this:
I just wanted to follow up on my ___________. I would love to be considered for an internship with you this ____________, for I am passionate about working in the _____________ field. Your work has inspired me because of its __________________ and an internship with you would be a ___________ opportunity in my eyes.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to being in contact,
Re-attach your original resume and cover letter.
Now that you have most definitely made yourself stand out, it either could be very good or very bad. If executed well, the latter is unlikely.