Learning Experiences from Internship Hunting in Manhattan

Shannon Donohue '17 Shares Advice for Finding the Ideal NYC Internship

So there I was, all moved in at the Marist in Manhattan (MIM) dormitory space on the Upper East Side, ready to take the big city by storm through the MIM internship program. The only problem was, I didn’t actually have an internship yet.

Everyone else in the program already secured spots at top notch companies like Michael Kors, Health Magazine, Lacoste, and NBC in the weeks leading up to move-in day. After countless applications and interviews to no avail, it was evident I was going to have to work a little harder to secure my position as a New York City intern. This experience gave me some of the most valuable job hunt lessons I’ll ever learn.

On the search for an internship by Shannon Donohue '17.

As a journalism major, I knew how competitive the industry was. But with my experience as a digital intern at Hudson Valley Magazine, my position as head editor for the Marist chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and my time as a copy editor, staff writer, and section editor for the school newspaper over the last three years, I felt like I had a fairly competitive edge.

I sent out close to 30 applications over the course of the eight weeks before the program started. I followed up with each and every one, sending copies of my resume and cover letter directly to the hiring managers at each company. I obtained six interviews out of those 30 applications. I made it to the second round of interviews with two. This was the first lesson; I had no idea there would be two round of interviews. When the phone rang and I saw it was the companies I had interviewed with, I assumed it would be an offer or a declination.

So, the first two weeks of my time in Manhattan were mostly spent going on interviews, exploring the city, getting to know the subway system, and sitting in coffee shops sending follow-ups and doing more research on the companies I was interviewing with to prepare for anything they might throw at me.

It was a grind. Someone once told me, “Looking for a job is a full-time job.” This couldn’t be more true, especially if you’re trying to find one in New York City.

On the search for an internship by Shannon Donohue '17.It turned out that after countless cover letters, emails, and resume revisions, my ideal internship actually came to me through the Marist alumni network. A young woman from the Class of 2016 had interned at a small production house in the West Village called Switchblade Productions during her time in the Marist in Manhattan program. Gerry McNulty, the faculty adviser to all students who participate in the Manhattan program, reached out to the production company and asked if they needed an intern for the semester. Two days later, I receive an email from them asking me to come in for an interview.

This was lesson number two; networking is everything in the media industry.

Walking into Switchblade, it immediately felt like home. It was a long, winding space with corridors everywhere you turned and state of the art editing suites on every corner. It was dimly lit with graffiti-esque art covering the walls, and modern furniture throughout the suite. There was even a living room with a big screen television playing all of the projects they’ve worked on over the years, as well as a kitchen with the classic selection of New York coffee and bagels for the office. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and it seemed like everyone who worked there were truly good friends with each other, not just the typical work acquaintances.

The interview went perfectly. I felt more confident in myself and my abilities than I had in any other setting, as I have been focusing on multimedia journalism, including video production, throughout my studies. Switchblade offered me the position the next day, and the week after I began my dream internship in Manhattan.

This whole experience gave me invaluable insights into job hunting in the media industry and allowed me to get comfortable with the city before being thrown into the rush of the working New Yorker lifestyle. Although it felt like I was falling behind at first, it turned out that I was actually getting ahead.

But what happened next??? Read all about Shannon's Marist in Manhattan internship experience at Switchblade.

Written by Shannon Donohue '17

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