Out of Left Field – Why We Want Interns with Diverse Backgrounds
March 22nd | 2016
Claire Dawson

At Zeus Jones, not everyone comes from a marketing background.

In fact, a lot of us don’t. (And a lot of us do.) As it turns out, getting as many perspectives in the room as possible, from as many different backgrounds as we can, tends to lead to novel solutions. But finding those people and making sure they want to be in marketing can be a challenge. That’s where the Zeus Jones internship comes in. It’s the perfect spot to give someone without a lot of marketing experience, but with the right kind of interesting background, the chance to try out the world of marketing and see what they have to offer – like Ellen and me.

Ellen Schneider, Creative

I interned at Zeus straight out of school and was attracted to ZJ because of the way Zeus gives its interns (and employees) the chance to work across disciplines.

I had a hard time finding an internship that was a good fit for me and my skills. Most places I met with told me to pick a direction — they told me to choose either strategy or design — it was never an option to do both. I was disheartened, because I’d spent 5 years working really hard and becoming incredibly passionate about the intersection of design and business — why couldn’t these companies see that it was important? It wasn’t until I had an informational interview at Zeus Jones that I was told they saw value in someone who has both a strategic and a creative brain. In fact, just about everyone at Zeus Jones thinks that way, too. I felt so relieved to find a place where I wasn’t told to fit into a box or a job description, but rather, the thing that was unique about me was actually why they wanted to hire me.

I’m not the only one with a marketing background at Zeus – lots of people have one – but most of them see their marketing school experience a little bit differently. And it comes in handy in a lot of different ways.

I studied marketing and graphic design in college. It was a wonderful whirlwind of left-brain and right-brain thinking every day. I’d switch from finance in the morning to design thinking in the afternoon to a drawing class in the evening. This full-spectrum thinking is something I’ve found valuable while working at ZJ. I’m able to work heavily on a strategy research and then quickly shift over to thinking incredibly tactically about a shot list for an upcoming photo shoot. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job — to use so many parts of my brain and different ways of thinking all in an 8-hour day.

Claire Dawson, Creative

I interned at Zeus after a career change from teaching high school English. I found Zeus Jones largely because they were willing to take a chance on someone who had a lot of passion and good writing chops, but pretty much zero experience.

I’d decided to make the switch to marketing after figuring out that it was a business largely based on creative problem-solving with a serious need for writers. But coming out of teaching English and working in college admissions, I didn’t have much of a way of proving my ability to apply my analytical, writing, and creative skills to an entirely new industry – and going to portfolio school was not in the cards. But Zeus’s internship program didn’t care about that – the homework alone gave me the chance to show what I could do, and because Zeus appreciates ideas and passion as much as anything else, I had the chance to get my feet wet and see whether it was really something I could do – and for that matter, wanted to do.

And, as it turns out, some of the skills involved in writing lesson plans and wrangling a room full of high school students are surprisingly applicable to making creative decks and giving client presentations.

Teaching is, after all, about getting people to see the import of what you’re telling them, to understand the nuances of the steps involved, and to buy into the idea enough to absorb the lesson. In the end, it’s not that different than a room full of clients – except you can’t tell the clients to put their cell phones away lest they become your property. But, on top of that, the thousands of hours of practice of communicating clearly and simply, and of coming up with creative ways to get past the many and sometimes intimidating barriers that stand in the way of teenagers’ learning – well, they’ve never stopped coming in handy. Not to mention the encyclopedic knowledge of grammar and style.

The point is, Zeus Jones interns and employees don’t all have MBAs, and we’d never want it that way. We’re looking for people who think differently, work differently, and bring different ideas to the table, because it’s through a diversity of experience and perspectives that we do our best work.

Apply for our intern program here.