How I Landed a Major Internship With No Experience

By Chelsea Narvaez

internIf you told me a year ago that my very first internship, with only having cashier and school newspaper experience, would be at NBC, I would have a.) laughed in your face and then b.) begged on my hands and knees for you to tell me how that would be possible.

As a sophomore at Hunter College, I knew I had to start getting an internship somewhere, anywhere, that had to do with my Media Studies/Journalism major. I didn’t care if it was an underground news blog that nobody knew about– I just knew I needed something.

If your major’s department has a list-serv or an e-mail chain and they recommend you join it, join it. When it comes to the media industry, it is true what they say: it’s about who you know. In May 2014, an intern from NBC New York, who was also a student at Hunter, sent out an e-mail through the list-serv looking for a new intern in her department, Communications. I applied immediately and was called in for an interview with the VP. I didn’t get it, but the VP told me I was a strong candidate and to e-mail her again in August to interview for the fall semester.

Throughout that summer, I applied to so many media companies: CBS News, ABC News, radio stations, newspapers; I had a general interview with Viacom, but it didn’t go past there. I was growing anxious, knowing that my junior year of college was approaching and I had no real life experience outside of my school’s newspaper. I e-mailed the VP the first week of August and soon received an e-mail from Human Resources, setting up an interview with me for another department. The VP of Communications saw something in me that could fit in with the company, even if it wasn’t for her, and she forwarded my resume to HR. This woman believed in me too and she set me up for an interview with the Creative Services Department, with a back-up department in place in case I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get it.

She didn’t let me feel discouraged, though. It was an amazing feeling, knowing that someone- a big someone- in a powerful market believed in me. She brought me in again to interview with the Digital Media Department, and had another department on the back burner in case I didn’t get this internship. But this time, I got the position on the spot as the Social Media intern, working alongside nbcnewyork.com. Here I was, about to be a junior in college, barely any experience, and now I was working in one of the largest news markets in the country, for one of the biggest news companies in the world.

My experience with NBC New York has been invaluable, one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. For the Fall 2014 semester, I juggled four classes and a 9-5 internship, which I went to three days a week. It wasn’t easy, but it was incredibly rewarding. My boss was the perfect mentor and I am blessed to have worked with her.

While working for social media, I was in charge of running the station’s Instagram account. I also wrote and queued up posts for Twitter and Facebook, and I worked a lot with the station’s website. My main focus on the website was setting up photo galleries, whether it be “YOUR PHOTOS: Autumn in New York,” pictures of viewers’ pets in their Halloween costumes, or pictures of the construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Wonderfully enough, through this internship, I am also a published writer on the website, where my boss allowed me to write a few stories, usually that went along with some of the photo galleries. Some days, work was extremely repetitive and monotonous, but I was never bored, never unhappy- I loved every single part of that internship, even the boring but necessary parts.

The best part? My boss gave me the opportunity to go out in the field to take photos for our website and social media accounts. I was in the press pit at the 9/11 Ceremony; I went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; I went to the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony; I got to cut the insanely long line at the “Central Perk” Friends’ pop-up cafe.

I feel incredibly lucky to have landed an amazing first internship. It’s entirely possible to work somewhere great, even when you have no experience. As long as you’re a good, dedicated, hard-worker who presents yourself in a confident manner, people will believe in you and give you a chance. You will hear “no” a bunch of times, but all it will take is that one “yes” to send things in motion. Don’t believe me? I’m interning again in the spring at NBC New York with the Creative Services Department. And the VP of Communications approached me about maybe working with her, too.

If I could leave you with advice, it’s this: Don’t give up. Prove yourself and your work ethic and people who doubted you will see your true potential. And work together with your school– they want to help you. It’s so important to network and connect with people, because it might work to your advantage.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have any experience- people will believe in you if you deserve it.

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