Trust the Process

Considering the audience of this blog, it’s safe to say those reading this post are either in the midst of finding an internship or are currently reflecting on their internship experience. A couple of months ago, I was yet another stressed-out junior plagued with the pressure of trying to find an internship. Let me tell you it’s brutal out there.

Last fall, I went through the process of applying, tailoring my resume, endless calls with HR teams, and interview after interview. I felt like I was trapped in a never-ending doomsday. My only real stipulation with finding an internship was that I needed some sort of compensation. Which to most might seem like a no-brainer, but in the communication field this firm demand was harder to come by than expected.

During the interview process, the stress made me revert to a robotic persona. I said what I thought an interviewer would want to hear. I tried to act confident and poised, yet every time I logged into Zoom, I felt like I was playing a character. I put so much pressure on myself to “land the job” that it had the opposite effect. It was difficult for me to connect with the interviewer, so the conversation felt very one-sided. I focused so much on being perfect that it made me blend into the masses. I was feeling defeated, anxious, desperate, and frustrated. I went through a period of not feeling good enough or as someone desirable to employ. However, this all changed when I interviewed with John Matthews to be his branding intern at his non-profit, Ride Hard Breathe Easy.

Applying to Ride Hard Breathe Easy was basically a last resort for me. I wasn’t getting anywhere with the big-name companies I was applying for, and my only motivation for finding an internship was to fulfill that three-credit internship requirement for graduation.

I logged onto Zoom with John and immediately the aura in this meeting felt different than my other interviews. Having the mindset of essentially giving up released the negative pressures and self-talk I would go through during searching for an internship. John and I were able to have a genuine conversation about my personal connection to the cause of his non-profit and my drive for understanding people and strategy. It didn’t feel like I was being interviewed to just fill a role, I understood that I was needed to help revive the communications for this non-profit and I would have a real purpose for this internship. I wasn’t applying to be in a program with 30 other interns where our work would never see the light of day, but I realized that it would just be me and my knowledge of understanding brand development to instill storytelling into an organization.

I really hated it when people would tell me that you’re interviewing the interviewer as much as they’re interviewing you, but now I get it. Not that my other interviews were bad, but the interviewer had no intention of getting to know me. I was a means to an end; just someone to do the work. This semester, I really struggled trying to find a summer internship. The three-part interview process was killing me, and I felt like I was just saying the same things over and over again. I again fell back into autopilot – until I interviewed with Andrew Jessick at Realtime Media. We started the conversation talking about our interests, and my experience being a Temple student, and we even shared a story reminiscing about college roommates. It wasn’t until halfway through the interview we started talking about the actual job. He truly made the effort to get to know my authentic self instead of just throwing questions at me. Similarly, like my interview with John, we had a mutual dialogue.

I knew I got the job at Realtime Media as soon as the interview ended. It was that same gut feeling I remembered after interviewing for Ride Hard Breathe Easy. If you’re struggling with the interview process and that robotic momentum, just remember that you just haven’t found your people yet. Trust the process, trust your knowledge, and release the pressure.

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