Career Advice

Overcoming Obstacles and Making Use of Your Time


I have been interning with the Philadelphia Virtual Academy since January. The goal was to bring in students from competitors and increase enrollment and awareness. I went into the interview with a lot of ideas about what could be done to meet these goals, and was really excited to put them into action once I was hired. However, I hadn’t realized how often you come across obstacles in the process that seem to limit what you can do. As a part of the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Virtual Academy is sometimes limited in what we can do and there are many roadblocks along the way when it comes to starting something new, such as marketing. At first, we were somewhat put off by the slow-moving process of many tasks, such as gaining approval to create a blog, and then again to upgrade it. We would meet in person once a week, and there were some meetings early on where we felt like we had not accomplished much in the past weeks. However, as the weeks flew by, we realized that though some processes may be slow, we should fill the time with smaller tasks, such as focusing on our Facebook presence, creating an AdWords campaign or designing Direct Mail brochures. While some things may move slowly, we learned that we could still make a lot of progress as these seemingly small tasks added up. Before we knew it, we had not only a list of accomplished tasks, but a whole new inspired list of more things that we could do. From these first couple of slow-moving weeks, we learned the importance of keeping things moving even when they seem to be at a stand-still. This is often what you need in order to get your juices flowing and produce more creative ideas, and it helps pass the time while you wait for the original projects to fall into place!

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Getting Involved, Getting Excited

I used to be an education major so when I switched to advertising, although I love it, I missed having the chance to work with kids. For this reason, I was really excited when I saw an email come through last semester about a marketing internship with the Philadelphia Virtual Academy, a part of the School District of Philadelphia. This passion came through in my interview and I got the position. Once the new year rolled around and I got started, I was disappointed to find that as the marketing intern, there wasn’t really much of a chance to interact with the students. I could post daily on social media and our new blog, and sometimes they would even respond to these, but never in a way that made me feel as if they were excited about my posts. There was a disconnect, and I was determined to lessen this in order to get the kids as excited as I was. But how do you get a group of middle and high schoolers excited about anything school-related? Regardless of how relevant my blog posts were to their lives, they didn’t feel like any of it could be “cool” because it came from their school. So I talked to Dave, the PVA administrator and my internship coordinator, about this problem, and we agreed that it might be beneficial for me to get involved outside of the realm of advertising so I could get to know the students and they could put a face to the anonymous “PhillyVirtual” posts. Kevin, another marketing intern, had the opportunity to sit in on a Writing Club meeting in the Virtual Office, where the students’ classes are held. Through this, he learned a little about the process and the daily activities of the students, but not much about the students themselves. We had more success when we had the opportunity to meet them in person by chaperoning a field trip to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This was a trip that a lot of the kids were really excited about, so it was great to meet them in person and share in their enthusiasm for the trip. Later on I did a blog post with details and pictures from the trip and I found that the kids were much more active in response to the corresponding tweets and Facebook posts. The students that I met on this trip are now more active on the blog as well. I will be continuing with PVA for another couple of weeks and I hope to have the chance to go on more field trips and interact with more students so that by the time I leave, the students are more interested in the blog and social media.

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3 Things to Know About Interning in Advertising

I’ve learned a few valuable lessons in my internships, and I hope these three things will be helpful to anyone beginning an internship in advertising.

Ask questions

In the beginning of an internship it is often intimidating to ask questions. You might be afraid of annoying your boss or sounding stupid. Sometimes you might think the time for asking questions has passed or that you’ve already asked too many questions. Don’t worry about any of that. Asking questions is the best thing you can do as an intern. It is how you learn tasks and understand their purpose. That’s why it’s better to ask questions early and often, so that you thoroughly understand things before you are given more responsibility later. Your boss will be happy to answer your questions because it shows that you take your job seriously and want to learn. So go ahead and ask away!

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The AD industry: Stress, but Great Rewards

Throughout my whole experience as an account service intern at Tag Strategies, the internship has taught me how valuable it is to apply the knowledge you learned from the classroom into the real world. It has also taught me that every branding firm and agency is different. Whether its big, small, or medium sized, each agency has a different goal. What I really like about Tag Strategies is its mission in finding the “It” factor in every client. What will make each product differentiate itself from other competitors?

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Tiny Anchors

Tiny Anchors is a creative inspiration blog started by Brooke Mousitis of Brooke Courtney Photography in my hometown of Lancaster, PA.

“My goal is not to have the best blog out there, for there are tons of similar blogs, or to have a million followers. I just want to be able to look back at the end of every year and see what what projects I was working on and what was inspiring me at the time.” -Brooke

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I’ll Take the Small Agency Roll Please

This past week I completed my first week of my second internship at Maiden Media. Three words: I Love It! It’s a small shop tucked away in the chic-ness of Olde City but once you step inside you quickly realize there is nothing small about Maiden Media. A creative agency that focuses on digital media (websites, social media, and creative) Maiden Media is for those who thrive on hash tags, gifs,apps, trending topics and javascript. Initially, I was worried about how I would fit, but that quickly faded after the first few days.

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Campus Philly Presents: Createadelphia

You got creative. Now it’s time to get an internship.


The first ever creative industry fair, exclusively for current college students interested in various fields of design, including: Graphic Arts, Fashion, Entertainment, Environmental and Arts & Culture. Discover internship opportunities, network with regional professionals and gain valuable advice and insights from some of Philadelphia’s leading creative industry experts.

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MAY 19: The ADCP wants you to *EXPOSE* yourself.

Creative, exposed to a city filled with voyeuristic agencies.


Can you handle the truth about your art? Put it on display in front of critics that will play no favorites and spare no punches? There’s a harsh reality to this industry. Not everyone “has it.” Are you willing to lay it on the line, let your work speak for itself? No back stories, no “the client wanted us to do this, so we compromised.” Nada. Just stop talking.

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The little things in life.

At my current internship at Philly Magazine I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet a lot of great people (see my last blog about networking) and learn a ton of tools that will help me in the future. Because it is a magazine, I’ve learned about making media kits, tracking down leads, maintaining advertising clients with recap books, etc. You know, magazine ad sales stuff. But I’ve also learned some little things that I know I will always carry with me.

For example, I can proudly say that I now know how to Fed Ex and UPS a package via their online website with no problem at all (you may think that’s lame, but hey, I didn’t know how to do it before). I’ve gotten much more comfortable at calling businesses and clients on the phone and speaking to them like a professional employee.  Sometimes I get the task of cold calling leads and seeing if they are interested in advertising with our magazine and I have no problem talking with them and answering any questions that they have. I’ve also learned a handful of new computer software that I didn’t even know existed before I began my internship. One of my favorites is “Snag It”. This program allows you to take screen shots per say. It’s really useful when trying to capture an entire website page or e-mail because it automatically scrolls to the end of the page. I’ve also become much more comfortable with Microsoft excel. I know how important excel is in many aspects of “real world careers”, but I was never any good at. My supervisor, Danielle has shown me a ton of new tricks on excel that I am extremely grateful for. I really like that my internship has given me the opportunity to see the process of magazine advertising. For example, at Philly Mag an ad goes through three levels of individuals to “fact check” it and make sure all of the information on the advertisement is correct (Yes, that is one of my many assigned tasks).

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Writing Your “About Me” Page

It’s a good idea to have some sort of online presence outside of Facebook.  A blog is an excellent way to showcase your unique tastes and talents. Every blog has (or should have) an About Me page. This allows users to get a quick insight into you and your background. Even if you don’t create a blog, chances are you’re going to have to define yourself some time in the near future.

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Internship Interview #1: Alex Riley & Harmelin Media



Hi everyone! My name is Devan West, and I am a senior studying advertising at Temple. We all know how important it is, especially in this major, to have an internship. After all, it is a requirement in the curriculum. Currently, many students in the advertising department hold internships at some of the most prominent companies in Philadelphia. I will be sitting down with the students in these positions weekly in order to give others a better insight of what it’s like. This week I got to sit down and talk with Alex Riley, 21, who is in the account management track of the advertising department.

DW: “Hi Alex, where are you currently interning?”

AR: “I’m interning at Harmelin Media.”

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