How I Turned My Marketing Internship into a Marketing Career

  • Categories:

    Agency Life, Inspiration, Public Relations

  • Date:

    January 31, 2019

How I Turned My Marketing Internship into a Marketing Career

Agency Life, Inspiration, Public Relations

I’d like to think I’m living the postgrad dream. Consider:

  1. I am gainfully employed and get a real paycheck.
  2. My job is related to my college major.
  3. I’m not living in my parent’s basement (no shame — I would if I could, but my parents are in Georgia, and I’m in North Carolina).

If you’re a college student, and if you’ve started thinking about life after 2 a.m. pizza deliveries and exam week all-nighters, you may be wondering, “How can I make the leap from full-time student to full-time employee?”

I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you it’s a difficult transition. Unless you hate campus life, you may suffer from separation anxiety. And if you’re anything like me, you may find yourself sitting in your college apartment or dorm room without any real idea of what you want in a career.

I wanted to do real work. Really.

Luckily, thanks to a simple Google search for marketing and public relations internship positions in Charlotte, I came across Wray Ward’s FORM internship program. After playing the part of fly on the wall at other internships, I saw FORM as a completely different opportunity. Real projects and real work form the program’s foundation (see what I did there?), and I knew it was exactly what I needed to gain experience in the field.

I didn’t want to go it alone.

Another huge draw? The idea of being one of seven interns on a team. College classes often consist of students in the same program, so I spent my days with other PR majors and a handful of professors. I craved the chance to collaborate with other creative people and have something to show for it. I saw how this experience could help me grow in my skills and provide the platform I needed to transition from an intern to a public relations pro.

FORM didn’t just meet my expectations — it exceeded them.

I got a crash course in agency life.

I quickly learned (and by quickly, I mean within hours) that you can’t understand the agency setting until you’re in it. That paragraph blurb about advertising careers in my college textbook? It didn’t touch the breadth of work that an agency produces or how it functions.

In many ways, FORM is a crash course in agency life. My six teammates and I each represented a Wray Ward role or department, from public relations and video to UX design and development. The integrated marketing plan we created for a Wray Ward client emulated the work the agency produces every day.

Everything about this experience was real. It didn’t feel like we were waiting for work on the sidelines. Instead, we actively participated in our departments and teamed up to concept our group project from start to finish.

The collaborative nature of agency life is unique, so it only makes sense for an agency internship to be collaborative too. Almost every project or deliverable depends on multiple people. And as FORM interns, we realized we had to gel as a team — with contributions from everyone — if we wanted to be successful.

Each week, our team grew stronger. We bonded over lunch and explored Charlotte after work. Within our departments, our mentors and coworkers dedicated time to helping us grow our skills and helped steer our group project. We began to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses and developed a strong group dynamic that carried us through the summer. We challenged each other, not only when we were passionate about an idea, but also when we knew we could grow our project into something better.

Nothing came easy, but we found inspiration everywhere. Staff meetings over ice-cold beers. Bouncing ideas for landing pages, videos and design concepts among our fellow interns while huddled in the sunroom. Writing blog posts in the kitchen, with HGTV serving up inspiration on the TV. We had challenging assignments, and we worked our butts off. But we also stretched ourselves and held each other accountable — and in the end, all of that hard work paid dividends. By the end of the summer, each of us had gained skills and experiences we could carry into a career, whether we’d already graduated or had a couple more years of school.

As for me? I got to put those skills and experiences to the test about a week after FORM ended. I joined the Wray Ward Public Relations and Content team as a contract employee in August and made the leap to full-time as a public relations/content coordinator before Thanksgiving.

FORM gave me the taste of agency life I needed to know I wanted to turn it into a career. Better yet, it gave me the chops to turn that dream into reality.

Think you have what it takes to earn one of seven FORM internships in summer 2020? Submit your application no later than February 24 (link coming soon). Good luck!

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