Once you’re out of school, an internship may feel antiquated. But when you see that the ad or in-house agency you really want to get into has only one opening…and it’s a copywriting internship, you may find yourself reconsidering. Here’s how to think it through. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Austin H. who asks, “I’m in my early 30s. Is it weird for me to apply for a copywriting internship? I could make it work with my current job, but is everyone at the agency going to think I’m some kind of weirdo since most interns are college kids?”
Strictly speaking, an internship is really an opportunity for beginners in an industry to get practical, on-the-job experience. Yes, it’s true that internships are most commonly served during or right after college, but there’s absolutely no reason this needs to be the case. If you’re considering an internship, I’m guessing that the idea of this practical, on-the-job experience appeals to you. And it should.
You don’t need to worry that applying for an internship will look odd or desperate unless you’re still in school or just graduated. Look: You need to get your foot in the door.
An internship outside of school—an internship at any age—doesn’t communicate that you’re desperate, it communicates that you’re willing to put in the time to learn the ropes in whatever capacity you can.
The desire to take on an internship, especially as an adult, shows dedication and persistence. Those are always impressive and always in short supply among job applicants. It also shows humility. Yes, you’re aware that the other applicants and interns are likely to be college students or recent graduates, but you know that you need to start at square one and learn everything you can just like they do.
When you apply for an internship, don’t be afraid to lay it out for them. You can absolutely say something like, “I know I’m older than your usual candidates, but I want to get into this industry and I especially want to learn from your agency because I’m really impressed by the work that you do.”
Nothing about this is going to count against you.
If you get the internship, though, make sure you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is. You absolutely will be doing intern-level work and there’s a very decent chance that you’ll be supervised by someone younger than you. This is not the time to let any misplaced pride kick in. Take pride in doing good work and take pride in learning.
If you can’t swing a regular internship with your current schedule, you still have a few options. If you don’t mind taking a little bit of time off, you could offer your services as a temporary intern for a week or you could reach out to a copywriting contact and ask if they’d let you shadow them for a day.
In these scenarios, you’re not going to get quite as much experience as you would with a longer term internship (obviously), but you’ll still get a feel for what it’s like to work in an ad agency or internal agency and you’ll have the opportunity to sit in on a few meetings and maybe even do a little concepting.
Don’t let fear of what people will think keep you from taking a step forward in your career. People will think things, no matter what you do. Keep your focus on your own goals and path and what’s right for you and you’ll excel.
Your turn! Have you considered taking an internship after school? What happened? Let us know in the comments below!