It’s safe to say that most of the opportunities that Ad majors seek in terms of internships are based in doing grunt work for a local agency. I’m sure some of you may already be familiar with the breakdown: an agency hires you as a promising young intern, you put in your hours, often going the extra mile to make a good impression, and hope that you’ve made enough of a positive impact on their day-to-day operations so that they consider you when a position opens up further down the line. It can often be a daunting process with absolutely no guarantee of gaining any meaningful employment. Instead of giving into this game of hard-to-get with the agencies, I’ve decided to take an internship with the intention of gaining not a full-time employer, but a client instead.

Before I became an Ad major at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication, I was the creator and editor of a now-popular food blog called Philly Foodporn (www.phillyfoodporn.com, @PhillyFoodporn on Instagram). Some of you may even use the #PhillyFoodporn tag when posting pictures of your meals on Instagram or Twitter. It was through my work on this blog and social media accounts that earned me somewhat of a reputation in Philadelphia as a major promoter of notable and new restaurants and events on social media. Since its inception, I have gained a rather sizable audience of over twenty five thousand followers on Instagram alone and have experienced a few benefits of becoming a public figure (or “influencer,” as much as I dislike the term,) in the local food scene such as invitations to special events, complimentary meals of which I’m paid for posting, and a level of notoriety among the service industry that still surprises me to this day. If you were to tell me in the past that I’d one day be subject to VIP treatment and an array of other valuable opportunities across the Philly restaurant industry, because of my ability to document my meals on social media, I wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, it was because of my food blog that I was able to land my first internship working as a social media intern for an acclaimed Philly-based agency where I first learned that perhaps there was more opportunities for me outside of the agency world.

While discussing my general search for an internship with an owner of a local pizza shop, Four Sons Pizzeria in Fishtown, he suggested something that I had not considered until then…an internship that would, if all went according to plan, lead to me signing Four Sons Pizza as an official client of mine, where I would be contracted as their social media manager and regularly paid for my services. The work would entail me managing Four Sons’ Instagram as well as some of their profiles on review sites such as Yelp, where I would respond to customer-written reviews.

What excites me most about this internship is not the prospect of being hired for a possible full-time gig, like it would be if I were interning for an agency, but the chance to take matters into my own hands and sign Four Sons’ as an ongoing client, where they would pay me for managing their social media on a monthly basis. An opportunity such as this would be a welcome one as it would allow me to apply my already established talents in social media while guaranteeing me supplemental income, while I search for more work opportunities after graduation. I guess it’s my entrepreneurial side that is most excited about this opportunity as it would allow me to take matters into my own hands and work for myself; something that has always been very appealing to me.

Ideally, signing Four Sons’ as a client will be an ongoing endeavor, which will provide me not with a full-time salary, but with extra spending money, hopefully, in addition to whatever salary I may earn. I won’t go into specifics of the amount, but it would be a monthly payment large enough to take care of my impending school loan payments, which will start roughly six months after I graduate.

I suppose the point of this blog is not to speak ill of traditional advertising internships, but to encourage others to think outside the box when it comes to finding lucrative opportunities after graduation. No, I won’t be relying solely on my money from Four Sons should they want me to manage their social media after December, but it will surely come in handy when considering my monthly budget after graduation; something I’m sure we all have been pondering once we became seniors on our way to gainful employment.

Do you have a talent or side-hustle that may prove to be handy when looking for work after graduation? Perhaps some of you may have the same thoughts on working for yourself and monetizing whatever talents you may have. I encourage you all to consider this as it may be extremely helpful in your job search.