Be Brilliant At The Basics

Summer is coming, and that means one thing: I get a few hundred emails from people asking if I’m hiring for internships, because their son/daughter/niece/nephew/cousin/dog/turtle is out of school and looking for real world experience.

I usually bring on one intern each Summer, teaching them everything I know about marketing and PR, advertising and customer experience. Here’s the thing, though. It’s hard to find a good intern!

Why? Because most applicants blow it before they even get to meet me.

Be Brilliant At The Basics- Summer Internships Alert

Are you applying for internships? These are all real things I’ve witnessed in the past year. Take them to heart when you’re applying. (And yes, these also apply to those looking for jobs.)

Proofread your email. I don’t need to know that you’re entering your “senoir” year in September.

Google is your friend. I’m thrilled that your dad saw me keynote in LA last year and that you’ll be returning home to LA for the Summer. However since I’m based in NYC, your returning to LA for the summer probably won’t help your case with me or your search for internships.

Leave “ghosting” for Pac Man. If I’m impressed enough by your email to reply, then actually respond to me. Ghosting me doesn’t set you up well for the future, no matter how much of a better internship you’ve gotten somewhere else. Remember: No matter how big you think any industry is, it’s still really kind of small.

One size does NOT fit all. I know it’s easy to copy and paste, but I probably won’t be able to hire you for the position of marketing intern at “Chase’s New York Office,” because I don’t work for Chase, and you copied and pasted your letter without bothering to change it.

Finally, no one was ever turned down for a job or internship because they were “too polite” in their introductory email.

I had a journalism professor at BU who gave me one of the best pieces of advice I ever received: “Be brilliant at the basics.”

Do that, and the rest will fall into place when you apply for an internships. I promise.

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