Alyssa Marino spent her senior year spring semester interning with AOL, and was a key contributor in the re-branding of the newly launched video hub, AOL On (on.aol.com). That experience led to a full-time opportunity on the B2B marketing team at AOL where she is responsible for building marketing collateral and promoting the exciting enhancements and capabilities of AOL On. Alyssa graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Communication & Media Studies. Prior to joining AOL, she completed an array of marketing internships at Sterling Publishing, Conde Nast, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and Hearst Corporation.
At AOL we’re focused on radically redefining the world of online communications. We are transforming how people around the globe connect with information, entertainment and one another by bringing together award winning journalists and innovative technologies to create rich and engaging consumer experiences. We look for people who are exceptionally imaginative, collaborative, and truly excited about our mission – to inform, entertain and connect the world.
1. How did you go about getting your first internship? What about your internship at AOL?
I actually got my first internship by attending a University Career Fair. I dropped my resume with the recruiter and a little while later I got a call from the HR department. As for AOL, I actually wasn’t planning on interning during my final semester of college. But a good friend of mine (who had raved about his internship at AOL) mentioned there was a marketing internship open, so I submitted my resume and a cover letter. After a phone interview with the recruiter, I went in to meet the hiring manager and clicked with her right away. I got the job the next day!
2. What do you think it takes to be a successful intern?
I think the most successful interns are those who are really there to learn. You need to want to take in absolutely everything your manager and others teach you. Also, a successful intern does not count the minutes until 5:00pm. There were many times when I brought work home with me and there were nights I stayed late to get projects done. This shows that you’re serious and passionate about the role and not just interested in adding another company name to your resume because you think it makes you look good. If you do not put forth the necessary effort, you are not benefiting yourself or helping the company.
3. What about your internship at AOL made you decide to pursue a full-time position there?
I enjoyed and learned a lot from all of my internships and I truly believe that each experience made me the person I am today. However, I ultimately decided to pursue a full time role at AOL and my reasoning for this was two-fold. First, I wound up loving digital. Digital is much more fast-paced than publishing and I love that no day is the same. Every day at AOL is full of new, exciting challenges. Plus, being part of a “re-brand” was an unbelievable experience. From the start, I felt like I was able to contribute to big decisions with the launch of the AOL On Network and I wanted to be able to help this product grow to its full potential. Second, I loved the company culture at AOL. From day one, everyone was unbelievably supportive and welcoming. Going to work everyday with incredible, smart people made my already amazing job that much better.
4. What is the future of your industry or job?
Like print, digital faces many challenges as technology evolves, but I definitely see tremendous potential for continued growth and success in the future. I believe the idea behind the AOL On Network is the future of digital, specifically video. The Internet is full of so much content that it is sometimes overwhelming. What AOL On does is curate that content, showing viewers the videos they should be watching now from breaking stories to trending topics. I believe that many Internet media companies and sites will probably start to go in a similar direction as AOL On, gaining more control of what is important and what people view on the web.
5. What advice would you give to interns looking to make their job more permanent?
I think interns looking to make their position full time should definitely make their intentions known to their manager and team early and often. It’s important that those around you know you’re serious about landing a full-time job within the company. In addition to voicing your opinion, you need to show your dedication and willingness to do whatever it takes to land a role. I made sure that I was constantly adding value throughout my internship, staying late, coming in on days off and showing that I was really passionate about video, marketing and our product. I also made it known that I would have to look elsewhere if I couldn’t stay permanently at AOL, and I reached out to an internal recruiter to see if any similar positions were available within the company. But, in the end, it was my manager’s push and recommendations that solidified my permanent offer to join the team—and I could not be happier!
So much great advice, thanks Alyssa! Readers, what advice do you have for interns who are hoping to become full-time employees?