Applying for a Writing Internship at The Smart Local

by - May 22, 2017


Internship period is drawing near, and my lecturers have been doing a good job stressing the whole cohort to find a company ASAP. I don't blame them though. With Singapore's current state of the economy it is understandable that finding a job will be hard, but we all know that finding a job we want is the hardest part.

As I'm a writing student, the companies I applied to were mainly print/ online publications. Being a person whose mantra is "Aim for the moon because even if you fail you will land among the stars", I decided to take a shot at my number one company of choice - The Smart Local.

Initially when I told my friends that The Smart Local was on my list of potential companies, I received varying responses from "It's sooooo competitive" to "Why do you want to intern there when anyone who applies can get in". Basically, it was all very discouraging. Most of my friends were aiming for internships positions at big companies like SPH and Mediacorp. I wasn't that onz abut interning at high-end companies because I felt that The Smart Local had a persona that resonated with me and I loved their dynamic and creative environment. I did send in my resume to SPH and Mediacorp, but didn't receive any response after two weeks. Like my lecturer said, sourcing for jobs is like dating. If you get rejected, let it go and move on. So I did.

#WisewordsfromMsJessie

Here's a brief overview of my application process:

1. Writing the cover letter

According to The Smart Local, the cover email is your first interview, so it is crucial that you make a good impression and stand out from the rest. In 3 paragraphs, you have to include an introduction of yourself, background, why you think you're suitable, social media accounts, period of availability and attach your resume.

According to The Smart Local, they receive over 500 applicants per hiring batch so your cover email has to be interesting or they'll just delete it.

No chill.

It's important to accentuate your individuality and be as creative as possible. You can refer to their official (but not updated) internship page for more details.

2. Sending the email

I sent out my cover letter on Tuesday, 9 April. Honestly, I wasn't expecting a reply anytime soon but each time I received an email notification, I prayed that it was them.

Other than waiting, there's nothing much you can do other than pray.

3. Scheduling the interview

I received a reply from Bryan the next Monday, and gosh was I ecstatic.

We scheduled an interview date over email, and he gave me instructions on what to prepare for the interview such as my portfolio, writing work and five original ideas that have the potential to go viral. Being the kancheong spider that I am, I came up with fifty ideas and eventually narrowed them down to ten. Coming up with more ideas shows that you are willing to go the extra mile.

I also suggest that you google their faces if you're not familiar with their staff.

4. Going for the interview

The Smart Local is located at Kallang Bahru and their HQ is five minutes away from Boon Keng MRT station (purple line).

I couldn't help but feel super overdressed when I stepped into their HQ. Everyone was dressed casually, in crop tops and ripped jeans, and there I was in my black pencil skirt and black top. It was pretty awkward, but it is always better to dress UP than DOWN, because it means that you take the interview seriously.

I was about 30 minutes early, so Bryan came over and passed me a piece of paper (see below), a bottle of ice water and a magnet. I have to say those 30 minutes were one of the most excruciating moments of my life.


5. THE INTERVIEW

How did the interview go? I would say it was scary, challenging, but fun at the same time. I was interviewed by three people and it was very much focused on ideation. I wouldn't get into details about how it went because I'm sure it's supposed to be confidential, but do get ready to be asked the randomness questions and provide creative replies.

The interview was nothing like I've ever experienced. I wasn't asked the usual questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses" or "What do you like about our company". Just remember to keep an open mind and accept constructive criticisms willingly.

The interview lasted for approximately 15 minutes.

6. The surprise assignment

Around 4.30 pm on the same day, I received an email from them. They wanted me to write a short article to test my writing skills, and the deadline was on Sunday at midnight. This means I had about two days to complete the article. The criteria: non generic, concise, and encapsulates Singapore at its core. Most importantly, it has to be in a conversational style.

Of course, I got to work straightaway and submitted the article on Saturday evening.

7. The results

The following Monday (which was today, 22 May), I received another email saying that they've received the article and were still in the consideration phase. They asked me if I would be able to commit to a 6-month internship, which means I would have to extend my internship period from Oct-Feb to Oct-April.

But really, at that point I was already willing to commit a lifetime to them, so I said HIRE ME PLS YES.

Another two hours later, I received the reply: I GOT THE INTERNSHIP.

And hence the crying started, and the OMG THANK YOU JESUS started, and I immediately called my mom to tell her the AMAZING NEWS: I just got hired by my dream company!!!

To summarize this surreal experience, I am very very very excited to be starting my internship as a lifestyle writer at The Smart Local. It's all I've ever dreamed of and THANK YOU TSL FOR BELIEVING IN ME. You will not regret this decision because Faith never disappoints.

YERRRRRRR.

To those of you who are still looking for internships, all the best and I hope you get your dream company like I did. GAMBATEH and HWAITING!

P.S I apologize for the overuse of caps.

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