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How important is internship experience when getting a job in the industry?Question asked via Instagram
First of all, there are very few video game editorial internships available. The only ones I’m personally familiar with are Game Informer’s Internship (which has been put on hold following recent layoffs) and the recently announced Fanbyte Summer Internship for college students. Of course, there are more general writing/video/whatever internships available too that could teach you a lot about working in media (again, this industry isn’t just about liking video games).
The experience and networking can be cool but you can do those things outside of internships and, since it’s rare for internships to turn into something more, you’re going to need to do those things outside of internships. I think sometimes people assume a good internship is a golden ticket and it’s not. This is why I don’t think they’re “necessary” in any field and are especially unnecessary in games media.
Experience is experience. Sure it may “look cooler” when it’s from a well known outlet but the fact that it’s labeled “internship” also adds an asterisk to things. So I wouldn’t get caught up in that. Personally, my resume was mostly small sites, stuff I made completely on my own and, and a few larger bylines.
I want to be clear that I’m not against internships and I don’t want to discourage anyone reading from pursuing them if they want to. If you see an internship that you think you’ll get something great out of (experience, money, ideally both), go for it! But don’t feel pressured to check it off your list.
I absolutely looked into the Game Informer internship and would’ve loved to do it. And as a high schooler I had a lot of great summer jobs/internship experiences. My first job (ever!) was with After School Matters in Chicago doing performance poetry. When I was 16 I interned at an office downtown (hated it and learned that I definitely dont want to hate my job as an adult) via the Chicago Summer Business Institute. And I worked in the Family Programs sector of the Art Institute of Chicago (that internship did turn into a weekend job). But with more age comes more opportunities so look at internships if you want to but, more importantly, seek out regular freelance opportunities/jobs and create opportunities for yourself by making and publishing your own articles, videos, podcasts, etc.
I’ll talk about this further in my next post where I address one of the most popular questions I get (and a question I once emailed a full-time writer myself when I was a freelancer!): “Would you recommend doing unpaid work/writing articles for free to grow your resume/CV?”
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