When Robbie Izar and I first connected through MAIP, it was clear that helping young creatives come up is a passion of his. Whether as part of his job as Associate Creative Director/Copywriter at Havas NY, or the 7 years he's been a MAIP Coach, Robbie has been there for those just starting out. This week, he serves up a dose of tough love on how to turn your summer internship into a full-time job. Enjoy—here's Robbie.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in an advertising internship this summer, then damn – you just got the keys to the ‘rari. In your head, you’re probably day dreaming like Barry O. on his first day off in eight years…
But hit pause for a second. True, you’re in the game, but now you have to figure out how to stay in the starting lineup. So listen up. This is relevant whether you’re in account, strategy, media, creative, or somewhere in between.
Think of yourself as a brand. What makes you so special? Why should an agency or your boss buy your brand vs. the brand sitting next to you? Sure, you both graduated from The University of Blah Blah Blah. And you both have similar skill sets and experience. How do you show them you’re more Drake than Meek Mill?
Now if it was me, I’d pick the brand that stands for hard work. I’d pick the brand that shows up on time every morning and makes me smile or laugh. I’d invest time in a brand that shows passion for advertising and treats their internship as a gift – not like summer camp. School may be out, but know you’re still being tested every day. There are more eyes on you than Trump’s Twitter account, trust. Everyone notices when you’re the intern who always ghosts at 5PM.
So be a brand that people in the agency talk about in a good way. Stop sitting at your desk all day waiting for work and meet the people around you. Find someone working on a project that interests you, then introduce yourself and ask if you can help.
e.g. “Hi, I’m a summer intern. I saw you working on a really cool project, do you need help? Oh, and I think your hair looks fabulous today, like Beyonce fab.” See, it’s not that hard.
But know there’s a difference between showing initiative and being annoying. And if you can’t figure out where one ends and the other begins, just remember this:
Be hungry, not thirsty.™
Interns that are thirsty are the kind of people who always swipe right on Tinder. They bother people who're trying to ship work while shoveling food into their mouths. They are so unabashedly desperate it makes people cringe.
When you’re hungry, people are impressed by your passion for advertising. They can tell you’re responsible because when you’re given an assignment, you do that first, then you ask for more work. They see the one quality all great interns have in common: an insatiable hunger to learn.
Here’s the cold hard truth – if your agency doesn’t offer you a full-time job after your internship, that’s on you. You should work so hard this summer and impress the people around you so much that it would be utterly and completely insane for them not to hire you. If you’re not making that kind of impression, then you’re not doing it right.
Work harder than the brand next to you. That’s how you get hired.
Remember, your two best friends this summer are confidence and a hella loud alarm clock. And at the end of your internship, when the agency offers you a full-time job, hit me up and we’ll jump on a quick call.
Because I love telling people, “I told you so.”