How to Leverage Your Intern Experience – ActiveCampaign Interns

Since ActiveCampaign joined the Tech scene in Chicago, we have been dedicated to helping bring the next generation of students into the growing industry. Every summer–and even sometimes during the school year–our leadership opens positions for students to take advantage of during their summer break from classes. We pull from a pool of students from all different schools, with different backgrounds, different areas of study, and different perspectives to join our teams during the break. 

Historically, summers fly by and before we know it our interns are headed back to school to finish up their degrees. With all of the practical experience one can gain during an internship, it’s important that students know how to share their experiences to prospective hiring managers. Here are some tips on how to utilize your intern experience to land your next job. 

Invest in building your network

You have probably heard of the term “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Or maybe you have heard Porter Gales quote, “Your network is your net worth.” Either way, the important takeaway is that successful people know that to be successful you need to invest in your relationships with other people. 

Your network is one of, if not the most valuable asset that you have when looking for your next job. One of the best things about your internship experience is the people you’ve met and built relationships with. You need to be investing in growing your network everyday with professionals who you have worked with, who you look up to, who currently have your dream job, who currently work at you dream company, who you went to school with etc. The larger your network is on LinkedIn, the more opportunities you have to gain key insights from people, such as what it is like to work in their industry/company/position and possibly get that sweet, sweet referral. 

According to Glassdoor, employee referrals increase the odds of getting hired by 2.6–6.6%. That is not something to disregard when trying to get your first full time job or break into a new industry.

Position the experience

You should talk about your internship in the same way you would talk about a past full time job. What did you do? What relevant skills did you gain? What impact did you make? Did you have a summer project? A great way to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are a serious candidate is by showing results, impact, and growth. Make sure you hit all of these key points on your resume and in interviews. 

Emphasize what you learned

Internships are all about learning. No employer is expecting you to know everything or have every skill for a position when considering you for the role. But you can speak to all of the hard and soft skills you gained from the internship and really show the employer your eagerness to learn. Companies know that you can teach someone a hard skill while on the job, but you can’t teach or make someone dedicated to growing, learning, and developing in their role or with the company. 

Life long learners make the best employees, and good companies know this. According to Deloitte, companies that invest in a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to develop novel processes and products. And in the tech industry that is constantly rapidly changing, organizations want employees that can help them move forward and stay competitive. 

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ActiveCampaign interns

Still, trying to get that first job with just intern experience can seem like a daunting task. So we asked one of our past interns–who went through this process– some questions about where she is now and how she got there.  

Rachael Lombardo studied Film and Media Production at Loyola Chicago. She joined the ActiveCampaign team in September 2021 to get internship experience during her last semester of college. Rachael split her time between the Education and the Multimedia teams getting experience shooting short and long form content for the company. 

As a student, Rachael’s dream job was to work in sports media, so she made sure to take advantage of all her corporate media experience at ActiveCampaign. She currently works as a Video Board Operator for the Chicago Cubs franchise at Wrigley Field. Rachel states that, “My internship at ActiveCampaign helped me understand how the working world works. It was my first time in an office and on a team and I learned a lot about how you need to communicate in professional environments.”

These important soft skills, like communication and having to navigate a team setting helped Rachel land a position with the Cubs even though her experience wasn’t performing that same role–we unfortunately do not have a jumbotron of scoreboard at the ActiveCampaign HQ. But to her now manager, Rachael was able to show him her experience working on a team, designing creative content, and willingness to learn new skills. This undoubtedly helped her kick off her career in the field that she always dreamed of, and we are so proud to be a part of her professional development. 

The important thing to remember is that you are already in a great spot now that you have some experience under your belt. Moving forward it is all about how you use that experience to open new doors and propel your career. 

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