Don’t Settle for Brewing Coffee

For young adults with long-term career aspirations in a creative industry (i.e. advertising, performing arts, design), getting to their dream job can be a challenge. For one, substantial job opportunities do not present themselves often without having prior experience. Further, securing internships to gain such experience can be equally difficult. Not only is it challenging to showcase one’s imagination and creativity through a standard résumé or online application, but some companies still believe interns are hired only to brew coffee and run errands. Why would you need a bright, imaginative candidate for that? Needless to say, it’s easy to see how talented individuals could be overlooked.

Although many organizations are sticking to conventional application methods, some have embraced processes that encourage creativity. Barkley, an advertising agency in the Midwest, uses an alternative process that leverages social media. To apply for an internship opportunity, Barkley asks candidates to submit up to 10 tweets with a designated hashtag that connects the agency to the candidate’s video application, blog entry, favorite site, and more.

Likewise, eager job applicants are challenging the traditional process and differentiating themselves with their résumé. Whether in the format of a Facebook page or an interactive web design, candidates are taking risks to get noticed. To clarify, such unconventional methods will likely have the intended effect when executed in an appropriate context. I might rethink the submission of a video application for a scientific research position.

Beyond these trends, one company has created a process that benefits both intern candidates and organizations. Fast Company released an article this week featuring Intern Sushi, a multimedia site aimed to restructure the internship application and search process within creative industries. Candidates join the site and create a “digital profile” which includes videos, art, and/or music that demonstrates their passion and talent. Additionally, organizations can view candidate profiles, schedule interviews, and track their application process.

When asked how she came up with the Intern Sushi name, CEO and Co-founder, Shara Senderoff, responded “The name says a lot about our attitude. It came from the idea that the attributes of a great intern match those of great sushi: presentation, sophistication, and innovation. Also, with sushi, everyone seems to be really picky about what they eat…Similarly, people should be picky about where they intern, and companies should be picky about who they hire.” This concept applies beyond creative industries and internships. Choose your employees wisely and be selective about where you choose to work. Don’t settle for less.