Josh Hughes

Posts Tagged ‘freelancers’

School of Thought Series: Interns, Freelancers, & Temps oh my

In Education, Professional on May 9, 2011 at 8:08 am
Devil Wears Prada..

After interning in college, free freelancing for a little venture with friends, and working a few temporary contracts after college, working a traditional 9-5 job seems a bit foreign to me. I’ve often been asked how I landed internships, a job right out of college, or pick up my stuff and moved across the country and only missed 119 days of work.

I’d like to share a summary of my experiences with each “untraditional job type” in the hope that will spark an idea, help someone get a job, etc.


I never fetched coffee. I colored pasta once for an experiential marketing campaign for Barilla once. That was fun. Getting the internship? I applied everywhere.  I went to information sessions given at the Coles College of Business and a few interviews. I turned down a few that didn’t feel right. Sadly, a few companies like to offer internships because they a neon sigh that says: FREE WORKER

The one that felt right was Euro RSCG Impact. The Experiential marketing department’s logistics office.  They were all professional but with personality, and that goes a long way. I learned a lot about pricing, program management, hiring a team, product knowledge, and a lot of random facts. I think that is actually the best thing about marketing professions or marketing majors/professionals: we learn a lot of random facts. While the internship was unpaid, I am a firm believer that I was paid heavily in non-monetary ways: lots of left over program swag [ I was able to eat Barilla pasta for a month. I also got a neat grown, and a light up Palm tree]. I was also paid in knowledge though.  The report and research skills I developed were priceless. I also made a few professional contacts that I keep in touch with today.

Euro wasn’t my only internship.  I also managed to land a 3 month internship at CNN’s Medical Reporting Dept.  Dr. Gupta knew me by name, I did staging for the main newsroom in use at the Atlanta bureau, and even got to write a blog post. How did I land CNN? Apply. Apply. Call. Apply. Call. Email. Basically you become a stalker [in the most professional way possible] to show them that you want it and to keep you in the front of their minds. I actually didn’t get the internship when it started, but was hired as a backup when the first guy couldn’t take the pressure.

Internship tips:

  • Go with your gut, don’t be desperate, and ask yourself “How can this help me develop?”
  • Cliche but true: The only way it is certain you won’t get the position is if you don’t apply.
  • Not being paid to work sucks. Some of the best internships in the US don’t pay $ and that is a sad fact.  Tell yourself there are other forms of payment, it is true.
  • You don’t have to pay to work for free- my second internship wasn’t for course credit so I didn’t have to pay tuition for it.

Internship Blogs/Websites I like:

The last thing I am going to say about internships is that it really helps. It validates your education. It helps you compete against a diverse and typically crowded job market. Sadly, students don’t realize this until it is too late and many college programs don’t build mandatory internships into their programs.


Just because free is build into the compound word freelancer, doesn’t mean you work for free.. in most cases. I count my current experiences as a blogger and writer as freelance work, which currently has left me with a negative income. That being said, the stuff I have written as a freelancer [ this blog, pieces for CommonCreativAtlanta, and otherwise] have not earned me any money.  I have gained valuable insights and opinions and use this knowledge personally and professionally. I have several friends that freelance for a living, and they are quite happy existing outside Corporate America’s restrictive existence.

Freelance Tips:

  • Network. Network. Network. & Social Media.
  • Freelancer. Not Free. Develop pricing and stand firm.
  • All work and no play make freelancers break.

Freelance Blogs/Websites I like:


A maybe not so secret tip amongst those that relocate is to find a temp agency in your new city to start the cash flow, build professional networks, and possibly get a full-time job.

After the holiday season, I went for a “test drive” of DC and San Francisco. I spent a week in each city and felt it out.  [for this post, I’ll focus on the temp job aspect and not focus on relocating] I sold my car, booked my ticket, and ruled out the possibility of ‘What if you don’t get a job?’

All you need to start is one friend. Through one friend, I met several. It was one of these contacts that put me in touch with the Temp Agency his department uses. Two weeks later, I am working in IT. Before, I could barely change out RAM, but now I’m patching server rooms and building training manuals for programs and devices.

The key about the temp job is it is what you make it! For some, they are temp-to-hire and both parties get to test things out before either invest a lot of time or energy into training, taxes, etc. For others, like a coworker of mine, it allows him to work and travel.  He works a lot of hours on special projects for a few months, saves, and then heads out to see family, or explore Asia or Europe.

From my personal experience, finding a temp job is one of the best things someone looking for their first job, a new career move, or supplement their income can do.

Temp Tips:

  • Find a temp agency you have a good feeling for.
  • When working your temp job, don’t think of it has temp, this is YOUR job.
  • Don’t beg to be hired. Let your work speak for itself.

Temp Blog/Websites I like:


A professional life takes work to develop [and .25 seconds to destroy]. The best thing to do is start as early as possible [but it is never too late] and to be proactive [but not obsessed]. Not everyone can do an internship and not everyone is happy with the stress that comes along with being a freelancer or self-employed.  You have to do what works right for you.

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