Internship advice for helluva non-engineers

Photo by Brenda Lin

If you want to build a bridge to Mars or construct a car that runs solely on “Game of Thrones”-related good vibes, then Tech is probably the school for you. However, one part of this college that rarely gets the spotlight is its liberal arts programs; most people do not even know what CM and LMC stand for, and it is especially evident during events like the Career Fair that majors like these are less than ideally represented when it comes to job opportunities.

This is not to say that jobs and internships are not out there for these students; Atlanta has a bustling media industry to say the least. It just might take a little more effort and ingenuity on the student’s part to snatch these positions up.

I am a fourth-year Computational Media major with a focus on film, and have been on the search for an internship for a few years now. After applying to several of the more famous media-related companies around Atlanta and getting rejected across the board, I recently landed a small position at a video production company on the perimeter. It’s a pretty stellar gig, and today I’m going to offer my fellow man some hopefully helpful (and brief, because I only have so much space to work with here) advice.

First off, you have to remember that you can never start looking too early. Even if you have no qualifications or experience, starting your search during your first few semesters of college can at the very least familiarize yourself with the industry. Secondly, do not be afraid to reach out first. Companies might want to hire you, but they also might not know that you exist until you introduce yourself. An actual application might not always be available, but a simple email stating your interest can at the very least put you on a company’s radar. And that brings us to our third point: the informational interview.

This is when you, a student, reach out to a company or person in the industry of your choice solely for the purpose of learning more about the industry itself. You are not asking for a job, you just want to talk with someone who has been in your shoes and might have some advice. Know and love the informational interview, because it can be a surefire way to establish a relationship with an actual human being that could become your first stepping stone. Seriously kids, look it up.

And that’s it. That’s all you need to know to get a job. Congratulations.

Just kidding, but hopefully this little piece will help some students who might not know what options are available to them. And this is not saying anything bad about Career Fairs; I know several liberal arts people who have picked up jobs that way, and I know a ton of engineers who haven’t. But in the event that the job pool may look a little shallow here on campus, just know that there’s an entire city’s worth of potential out there just waiting for you to tap into it.