How to Land an Internship
Second-year TLM student Helen Jung shares her own experience and tips on finding an internship.
It’s that time of the year again – hunting for jobs and internships! As first-year students get to take on the daunting task of eagerly (and anxiously) applying to various summer opportunities, we asked Helen (second-year TLM student) a few questions about her experience interning at MediaLocate, a medium-sized language service provider located right here in Pacific Grove.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Helen Jung, and I’m currently finishing up my studies in Translation and Localization Management at MIIS. I’ve also been working as a localization project coordinator at MediaLocate for almost a year now. After graduation, I would like to join a client company and continue building experience in project management and cross-functional collaboration, and eventually build my career in international product management.
How did you find your internship?
My story with MediaLocate is a semi-long one. During my very first semester at MIIS, I visited the MediaLocate booth at the Community Career Fair on campus and was able to chat with Leona, the vendor manager. She was mainly looking to recruit freelance translators, but I expressed my interest in project management internship and she put me in touch with Thomas, the production manager. I interviewed with him for the project coordinator position, but it did not work out the first time because they decided to pursue another candidate. However a month later, MediaLocate unexpectedly had another opening for a project coordinator and Thomas reached out to me with an offer, but I had to decline as I had already accepted an offer from another employer. But that wasn’t the end of our interaction; even after that, I still kept in touch with everyone I met at MediaLocate and expressed my interest in working there in the near future. After half a year of linguistic testing at Moravia, I wanted to build some solid experience in project management and was looking for a different opportunity. A few months before the summer began, I reached out to Thomas and asked if he had an opening for a project coordinator. I received an offer the next day and began working at MediaLocate two weeks after that.
Do you have any tips for those looking for an internship?
Don’t burn your bridges, especially in a tight-knit industry like ours. Even if things don’t work out initially, that doesn’t mean the opportunities with that employer are closed to you forever. Remain professional and amicable with everyone you meet along the search and keep in touch with them. Send a thank you email/message and connect with them on LinkedIn, and don’t be afraid to say hello from time to time or wish them a happy holiday!
Secondly, have a list of companies you’d like to intern at and be ready to articulate to them the reasons why you want to work there. Regardless of qualifications or capability, nobody wants to hire a candidate who doesn’t express genuine interest and enthusiasm for the role or organization. You should tailor your answer for each one, such as “I am interested in website localization and CMS connectors and based on my research, it seems like you have the most integrations available out of all LSPs.”
I really like what our professor Max Troyer said about job (or internship) hunting: it’s a lot like dating. Compatibility is everything and keep in mind that you, as a candidate, should also judge and evaluate the companies as well. Does the company culture align with your values? What kind of skills can you gain through the role? Is there room for advancement and would you be open to working there even after graduating from school?
If you can’t secure an internship for the summer, it’s okay. Don’t panic and keep yourself busy with other professional experiences, whether it be learning a new language, taking a programming course, or volunteering. Keep looking out for opportunities that could open up after the summer has begun because you never know what will come your way.
Last but not least, don’t take things personally when you don’t get the offer. I know from personal experience that it can be very disappointing, discouraging, and really bring your confidence level down. And it’s easy to feel like you are lacking in ability and experience, start comparing yourself to others, and everything just goes downhill from there. Please don’t let this happen to you! Job/internship search is definitely a daunting and grueling process for applicants, but with so many bright and qualified candidates available out there, it is also difficult for the employers to choose just one person but unfortunately they just have to sometimes. It’s not that you are a bad candidate; know that maybe somebody else was a better fit or had an extra skill that is greatly valuable to the employer, but that should not be seen as a negative on your part – believe in yourself and give yourself some credit for making it this far! If you are stressed or feeling low, talk to your friends, colleagues, mentors, and/or advisors about your struggles and experiences. It’s amazing how much you can learn about yourself just from talking to other people, and maybe you’ll take something away from their stories, too. Stay optimistic, encouraged, motivated, and know that you are not alone in this valuable journey!
Thanks so much, Helen, for sharing your story with us!