For far too many qualified students, searching for an internship is a strenuous process chock-full of rejections or even radio silence. Nick Lennex, a junior in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, studying Advertising Management, was no exception to this frustrating reality. That is, until he reached out to an employer at RAPP through the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Alumni Mentorship group on LinkedIn.
Now, that employer is his employer.
“I’m a project management intern at RAPP, which is owned by a parent company called Omnicom,” Lennex said. “For my day-to-day tasks, I’ve been shadowing a lot of meetings and dabbling in a lot of different categories.”
RAPP, a global marketing company, has offices across the world. They use their advertising and marketing techniques to create unique brand campaigns. They also have an established internship program, which was absolutely essential for Lennex while internship searching. “I was looking for really established programs,” he said. “I didn’t want to be someone who just did the busy work all day, so it was refreshing to discover that RAPP had a really established internship program.”
However, Lennex's internship situation was not always so secure. Like many students, he spent ample time on applications with little to no payoff. It was at this point that he decided to reach out to Anne Marie Schiller, the LinkedIn group’s alumni president and Omnicom’s global operations specialist.
“I was going through the process of applying and getting denied,” he said. “I thought, as a last resort, I might as well message Anne Marie on LinkedIn. She was really motivated, and I could tell she wanted to help me succeed. The hardest part about finding internships is not having any prior work experience within your field. I hope this acts as a stepping stone toward my career goals.”
In addition to forming connections with alumni, Lennex also gave himself a leg up by submitting his resume and cover letter to the ComArtSci Career Center for review.
“I felt pretty good about my resume,” he said. “But for the cover letter, I was completely lost — I really had no frame of reference as to where to start. The Career Center gave me the framework to put in my experience and skills. They tailored my cover letter to make me unique and stand out when applying to internships.”
At long last, his hard work had paid off. He noted, however, that the job he landed at RAPP was the only one where he had a connection and that it’s important to have people inside the company who can vouch for you.
“Knowing people is a great asset,” Lennex said. “Maintain and nurture those connections — whether it’s just liking their post on LinkedIn or sending them a quick message about what you’re working on. They can get you in places that wouldn’t really allow you to if you just applied normally. Because internships have become so competitive, it helps to have someone inside the company advocating for you.”
Perhaps the best people to have on your side, Lennex shared, are your fellow Spartans.
“The one thing I’ve noticed is that Spartans want to help other Spartans,” he said. “I was invited to be a part of the ComArtSci LinkedIn page which is composed of a lot of different alumni, students and people that generally want to help students find jobs and internships. A lot of it is just getting your foot in the door for that first interview — that’s your chance to showcase your personality and who you are as a person.”
By: Stella Govitz