Applying to FORM? Get tips from interns turned Wray Ward staff.

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    December 1, 2022

Applying to FORM? Get tips from interns turned Wray Ward staff.


If you’re a student considering Wray Ward’s 2023 FORM Internship Program, I thought it might be helpful to offer you some advice on applying for the program and — if you’re selected — making the most of your time here.

But such wisdom is better shared by the very people who experienced the ins and outs of this process firsthand and have now become valuable full-time members of the Wray Ward team. Follow along as these “FORMer” interns share what helped them throughout their journey and the valuable lessons they gleaned from their time in the program.

1. Ask Not What Your Internship Will Do For You

    Internships are designed to give you a taste of what life is like in the professional world. This crash course in what’s to come begins with your resume, cover letter and — depending on which role you’re applying for — a creative portfolio. Up until now, you probably haven’t had to focus on your resume all that much. This will change as you prepare to apply for internships.

    Don’t simply consider what you will get from an internship — which is still important and why you’re doing it — but what you will bring to the company to which you’re applying.

    “When you’re planning out your application, ask yourself, ‘What unique assets could I bring to a team?’” said Annie Mohr, social media senior manager (FORM ‘18). “I think most applicants focus on how Wray Ward could benefit them, but companies are much more interested to learn about the applicant, their passions and what they’ll bring to the table.”

    I’m in no way implying that you should ignore the benefits you’ll receive from your experience — that’s why you do it in the first place. However, once you feel confident that an internship will meet your needs, it’s good to shift your focus to how you will meet theirs. That’s the best way to start selling yourself.

    2. Learn to Sell Yourself

    Even if you think your resume or experience isn’t a great fit for a position you want, you can still find creative ways to show off your personality and your skills and get where you hope to go. Marina Gianakopoulos, junior production digital designer (FORM ‘21), wasn’t happy with her major and wanted to try something different in an internship. Despite her lack of experience in design, Marina, a student in the University of Virginia School of Architecture, focused on how the knowledge she did have would make her a great FORM candidate.

    “When I saw that FORM offered a design role and that the agency worked with brands in the home and building category, it seemed like the perfect match for somebody with my background,” Marina said. “I was able to really sell myself in the cover letter, not because I had the most impressive UX design portfolio, but because my studies in architecture made me familiar with Wray Ward’s clients and the general building industry.”

    Landing an internship or job isn’t just about what’s on your resume or your accolades. It’s also showcasing how your experiences will successfully translate into the position you’re applying for.

    3. Remember, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

    Hearing stories of teamwork and collaboration around our agency, such as the following tidbit from Ida Osterman, junior designer (FORM ‘21), is music to my ears.

    “I learned to collaborate with and learn from people in other fields,” she said. “I learned that we’re all on the same journey. Teamwork can make you a lot stronger at your own job.”

    When you’re new to a company or a role, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or that you aren’t capable of pitching in. But that’s simply not true. If you’re lucky enough to be selected for our FORM internship, you were chosen for a good reason. So, be willing to dig in and get your hands dirty from Day One. This program is designed to give you every opportunity to learn the ups and downs of full-time agency life, so embrace it and see where you can help out.

    The wealth of knowledge and insight, along with the tools and technology at your disposal each day, is one of the greatest benefits of working at an agency such as Wray Ward. Asking questions and learning from the people around you is the best thing you can do to enhance your experience here.

    “Connect with people from every department,” said Annie. “Be curious. Ask questions about what they’re working on or if you can sit in on their next meeting. That’s the best way to get a good feel for an agency's dynamic and explore how other disciplines contribute to a shared goal.”

    Aside from jumping in or asking questions, simply observing how others work can be incredibly insightful.

    4. Just Do It

    Nike’s famous tagline has resonated with our society for decades because it is simple yet powerful. It can be a positive mantra for many situations, especially those where we may be unsure about risks or nervous about taking the next step.

    Are you interested in applying for the FORM internship but haven’t because you’re afraid you don’t have the right experience or that you might not be a good fit?

    PR/Content Coordinator Alyssa Washington (FORM ‘21) has two words for you:

    “Do it.”

    Alyssa says that interested students should take the leap even if they feel unqualified or think they don't have enough skill overlap. “Believe in yourself and don’t doubt your abilities.”

    You wouldn’t believe the number of interns who have told me they didn’t think they had what it took to even apply for an internship, let alone do the work. In fact, many of our selected candidates are students who decided to take a chance and apply, even if they felt underqualified.

    I specifically remember one student who severely underestimated her qualifications, and only ended up applying for the internship because her grandpa — who she was incredibly close to — encouraged her to apply. We chose her for the internship but, sadly, her grandfather passed away the day after she found out. She dedicated that summer to her grandfather who inspired her to do great things.

    I share all this to reinforce one important point: You won’t be able to achieve your goals if you don’t at least try. The same wisdom holds true if you get accepted. Feel nervous about jumping into the work in a fast-paced environment? Just do it.

    “Be a self-starter,” said Kyra Arendt, junior motion content creator (FORM ‘21). “Don’t expect someone to tell you exactly what to do. Exploring a project’s possibilities to the fullest, even though you’ll make mistakes, is better than having a paint-by-numbers mentality.”

    Above all, seize every opportunity, whether completing your application or walking the halls of Wray Ward as a FORM intern. After all, while eight weeks may seem like a long time, it goes by quickly.

    “Take everything in and make the most of each moment,” said Alyssa. “It feels like you have forever when you start, but the weeks fly by. Take notes, do what interests you and learn as much as you can.”

    Are you interested in the FORM internship at Wray Ward? Applications for our 2023 FORM class opened on November 30. Learn more and apply before January 20, 2023.

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