Whether we’ve worked summer programs at mega-corporations, found part-time work through a family connection, or been lucky enough to attend a post-secondary school that incorporated co-op placements into their programs, a lot of us have probably been an intern at one point or another.
Internships can be an excellent opportunity to dip your toes into a field of work that you’re interested in prior to committing to a full-time position. I personally loved my internship experience working at a film festival in Toronto as a Communications Coordinator. It was a fun summer working in an office environment for the first time and with a team of professionals I greatly admired. I even became friends with the other interns I met there, and still consider them really good friends years later.
Last summer, The Influence Agency decided that we were going to hire some interns of our own! We’d had great success in the past, finding our lovely Senior Client Success Manager, Kitty Lana Carr, through her own internship with the company in 2018. So why not try our hand at finding some incredible talent again?
Over the course of five-ish months, our team grew by five not-so-ish interns: Judy Walters, Taylor More, Eliza Mehr, Vivian Phung, and Darcy Price. All were hired for a variety of different marketing internship roles, from social media management to paid media advertising to content writing and editing—and more. In my own role as Content Manager, I worked closely with Darcy over the course of her internship, so I was fairly familiar with how her experience interning with TIA was going but didn’t have as much contact with the other four. I wanted to learn more about their own time as interns with TIA.
So I decided to ask them.
There are tons of marketing internships available to students and recent graduates — if you know where to look. So what influenced our interns to apply to TIA when so many options were available?
“As someone applying for a social media related position, the agency’s Instagram feed really caught my eye. Every post was strategically placed, beautifully designed, and had high engagement. To me, it was a sign that they not only cared about their clients’ image but their own brand as well!”
“Being fresh out of undergrad, there were many things I was unsure of when trying to decide the famous question ‘What do you want to do after graduation.’ I knew that I wanted to work, but what I valued in a working environment was less concrete.
Luckily, after stumbling upon TIA I found what I was looking for! TIA fostered a company culture that they valued, a fast-paced environment, and celebrated greatness. From their website that highlighted different projects and case studies, to a unique point of view that strived for distinction, I was instantly drawn to their brand and wanted to find a way to be a part of their team.”
“At the time, I wanted to transition from organic social media efforts to paid media, but I found it difficult to get my foot in the door without prior experience. Learning how to navigate these campaigns without the budget or tools necessary seemed impossible — that is until I came across the TIA internship posting! They highlighted that the ideal candidate didn’t need to have hands-on experience and would be offered the appropriate training to succeed in the role. This posting also positioned TIA as a company I could grow with which was something I prioritized.”
“At first, I was definitely nervous about the interview process being virtual. From past experiences, the in-person interview is what allows both the company and you to connect on a personal level. With a virtual interview, it’s easier to feel a disconnect from those you are talking to (something I think we’ve all experienced throughout the pandemic). However, the interview process exceeded my expectations.
What gave me the most confidence that this was the company I wanted to join was the uniqueness of their interview process compared to what I have experienced before. Both the questions and the set-up were far from generic. After making it to the second round of interviews, I was asked to create a presentation based on a company of my choosing and use this as an opportunity to showcase how I would envision their marketing (i.e. social media posts and email newsletters). I had a great time creating my project and felt that I was being given the opportunity to showcase what I was able to do.”
“Any interview process is going to be nerve-wracking, that’s a given; but a VIRTUAL interview process? I’m accustomed to in-person experiences where I can really let my personality shine (thanks to years of hospitality work). So, I was definitely surprised when Tom, our Director of Business Development, set up a video interview with me after a brief phone interview.
My first impression of this entire process was that it was really thought-out. The video call was attended by three of the directors and my now-manager — this showed me they really valued who they were hiring. Within the first five minutes of the call, I felt totally comfortable (and honestly it didn’t feel like an interview at all), we all just clicked! Suffice to say, I’m happy they felt the same way.”
“Let me begin by saying that the role that I applied for, is not the role I was hired into. I want to preface this because it is a testament to the ingenuity of TIA’s interview process. TIA was my first ‘real world’ interview and there was no messing around. As an anything-but-natural-presenter, I was shaking to see not one, not two, but eight members of the TIA team at my interview. I gave my presentation and left the call feeling proud of the work I had presented, yet slightly unqualified for the position at hand.
Quickly, I realized that virtual or not, TIA wasn’t looking for perfection that came with 10+ years of experience but potential, and I decided at that moment that this is where I wanted to work. Lucky for me, the next phone call I received was to tell me that while I was not a fit for the position I applied for, they saw my skills better suited for a different role — and here I am.”
“There are certainly some unavoidable downsides to onboarding in a virtual environment. For example, you just don’t have the same ability to connect with your teammates as you would IRL. With that being said though, my managers and the company as a whole did an excellent job of making my onboarding experience as seamless and effective as possible. Although nobody has experienced this before, you could tell that they put a lot of time and thought into making sure that I wasn’t just getting thrown into this position. From letting me know that they were available at any time throughout the day, to weekly one-on-one check-ins, I always felt — and continue to feel — supported.”
“My virtual onboarding experience was a little hit or miss — not at the fault of anyone in particular, there were just a few little administrative hiccups due to the nature of not being in an office. I will say that the thoughtfulness that was put into my position has exceeded my expectations. Also, I was given an “Internship Training Curriculum” curated by my manager (shoutouts to Dani for being a quintessential Virgo) with quite literally every important piece of information I might need during my internship (and beyond, I still reference it). I also really appreciated the meet n’ greets with everyone on the team, it PARTIALLY makes up for not being able to meet IRL!”
“One thing that stood apart from my other experiences was the fact that I received cross-departmental training. Learning about the processes and best practices of each department provided great insight into TIA’s holistic approach to digital marketing.”
“My favourite part about working at TIA so far has been the overall outpouring of support and appreciation from everyone on the team. It’s incredible the multitude of opportunities that are available within the company to grow and learn. I think it’s really exciting being part of a team that’s doing such great things and values each individual’s creativity and ingenuity and I can’t wait to see what’s next!”
“The company culture is amazing! Everyone is so supportive and genuinely invested in your success. From the immediate members of your department to the partners and company as a whole, I always feel that my voice is being heard and that people are helping me reach the goals I set for myself.”
“The biggest challenge I initially faced during my internship was with my time management. The first few weeks I was incredibly busy with training, meeting the team, and trying to get familiar with the client work. I also think that being an intern during a time of such uncertainty comes with its own set of challenges — mentally. Having unrealistic expectations of myself and my work is a battle I still struggle with, as I’m sure a lot of new graduates and new hires also face. It’s all about finding that middle ground — your flow state — a mix of comfortability and confidence to innovate that I’m striving to achieve!”
“Coming straight out of school, it became apparent that a school-life balance was quite different from a work-life balance. Carving out a chunk of time to accomplish your tasks can be difficult as meetings can occupy a large portion of your 9-5. And, as everyone is experiencing, there is the constant struggle to find that balance in this WFH environment.”
“The biggest challenge wasn’t a result of the internship itself or the people at TIA, but revolved around the difficulty I faced in setting boundaries for myself. Onboarding virtually meant learning how to separate work and personal hours, which is something I didn’t properly grasp until a few months into the internship.”
“Meeting everyone! After working virtually for my entire time at TIA and seeing my team members every day, it feels weird knowing that I haven’t met them in person. We have such a great company culture virtually and I am excited to experience this in the office!”
“When we’re back in the office I am most excited to just interact more steadily with all of the amazing creative team at TIA. Right now, on a day-to-day basis, my communication is primarily between the team members I work more directly with. I think being back in the office will make it easier to create relationships with the entire team, and have even more collaborative conversations with all different departments within the company.”
“MEETING THE TEAM. And then beating them (a.k.a. coming in last place) with Toad in Mario Kart.”
“Yes! I was given such a warm welcome upon first joining the team, and that was only strengthened by virtual company socials and hangouts. Above all, seeing my ideas come to fruition within the Paid Media department has really solidified my role in the team.”
“Absolutely! When you first join the team, you have a one-on-one meeting with everyone in the company. When I did this, I was so happy to see how nice, supportive, and welcoming everyone was. This small 15 minutes that the team members took made such a big difference in my first couple weeks of working here!”
“Definitely. One thing that I love about TIA is the emphasis they place on collaboration. Everyone makes you feel like you are a part of the big picture. From game nights to virtual social, company merch, and so much more it’s hard not to feel like a part of the team from day one.”
I’m happy to say that all of our marketing interns have transitioned into full-time positions with the company—each and every offer deserved. And while TIA’s interns are interns no more, they definitely have some vital advice they’d like to pass along to anyone else looking for their own marketing internship in Toronto:
“Look for positions that actually excite you, as your ambition and drive will naturally shine through for employers to recognize. Think about what the company or position will provide for you, instead of only focusing on what you can do for them. Understanding your own value and goals will guide you in the right direction during your search process!”
“Allow your true self to shine through. Don’t present yourself as the person you think they want you to be — TIA recognizes individuality and uniqueness in everyone. Bring your best skills to the table and have confidence in your abilities.”
“Something I learned in school when it comes to looking for an internship was to conduct informational interviews. Reach out to other professionals in your field of interest, if only just for networking purposes — they might know someone who is hiring. Follow brands, agencies, not-for-profit organizations, or blogs that are creating content that resonates with you.”
We’re always looking for bright and motivated people to join the #TIAteam! To find out more about which positions we’re currently looking to fill, check out our Careers page to see if you’d be a good fit.6