From the Intern's Desk

thoughts, tools, tips, and tricks from the perpetual intern

Archive for the tag “student”

How to Gain Valuable Internship Experience

Seek and you shall find ... if you're looking in the right place, of course.

…without killing yourself. Here are some tips from my own experience as well as from other bloggers:

  1. What’s your value? Job experience, career exploration, résumé building – there are many reasons why you should intern. Determine the most important one to you. Tailor your cover letter to each employer – don’t just send out a generic letter. Show an employer why you would add value to their company.
  2. Where to intern? Analyze your needs and wants. Do you need a paying position? Do you want agency experience? Nonprofit experience? There are many outlets to develop your skills, but not all will be a perfect fit. Many internships are unpaid, but they offer college credit. Make sure to talk to your major adviser so they can approve your enrollment and even give you suggestions as to where to apply.
  3. Who can help you land your dream internship? People with contacts in your field, like a professional who can mentor you, would be great. You can develop contact at organizations that may have a local chapter, such as PRSSA or IABC. And of course, there’s always the career services office like the Cronkite Career Services Office for example that have a wealth of information. Make sure you’re on your college’s mailing list!
  4. When should you apply? EARLY. Early, early, early. Internships have deadlines. When I applied to an internship I saw in a career services email, I heard back right away because I was one of the first ones that applied. A job won’t wait around forever, especially if it’s one a lot of people want. Research upcoming opportunities, and if you see one you like, send in an application. Even if you don’t, anticipate the needs like how this One Day One Internship post said to search the Wayne Gretzky way. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
  5. What can you do to standout? Be creative. Emphasize your strengths by creating a social media plan for yourself – your Twitter page, YouTube, LinkedIn and how you communicate using these tools. Tell your employers how you did it. Advertise yourself. Use Prezi to put together a unique résumé that employers will remember. Reach out to employers on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. (see other good Twitter resources below)
  6. How do you move on if rejected from an employer? Don’t give up! Every setback is a new opportunity to find a better fit. Change your approach to networking. See if you get results. Internships are not jobs, so not as much is on the line. Read more blogs, comment and interact with others. Now is the time to take chances – establish yourself as a brand and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Before you play the game, you must know the rules. Internships are competitive, especially in public relations. You have to be known before you’re considered for the job. The best way to get known is establishing yourself in the digital world. Use #prstudchat and #internchat hashtags to join the conversation, and find good people to follow.

Follow on Twitter

@YouTern – YouTern is effective because they tweet both companies to intern for and articles about interning. They have a blog offering tips and advice from experienced people that’s updated regularly.

Similar: @VoxPopPRCareers; @PRWork; @InternAlert – All update regularly with job and internship opportunities in the US (and even the UK for VoxPop).

@ComeRecommended – Offering several how-to articles, ComeRecommended works for both interns and their future employers. Their posts offer advice tailored to almost any situation you may find yourself in. You can join and interact with other interns and reach out to employers on their site.

@InternQueen – Lauren Berger, aka the Intern Queen, has years of experience. She had fifteen internships while in college. She offers tips and tricks for breaking into the internship world. Her site allows you to directly fill out applications for internships, even in fields other than PR.

Why I want to be in PR

As a journalism major, I often get asked why I’m choosing public relations as my specialization. Why don’t I just major in advertising or communications or special events management or marketing? Am I selling out?

Absolutely not. I don’t want to major in any of those other things because I want to write first and do PR second. A classically trained journalist learns the ins and outs of AP style, politics, media and how to be aggressive to get a story. At least that’s what we do here at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Comm at ASU. I don’t want to sound clichéd, but isn’t there that saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer?  While I’m not calling journalists the enemies of PR professionals, I do think there’s something to be said about their tumultuous relationship. The only way I can think about being the best at my profession is if I learn how the other side works. Being submersed in a school full of journalists will open my eyes to their practices, their strategies and how we both can benefit in the future.

Not only am I learning to write, but I’m learning how to deal with people. First and foremost, PR is about relating to people. Relating to the media, relating to the public and finding a balance between the two. Journalists have refined the most expressive forms of communication. It’s not so vague that when I graduate I won’t have something reputable and specific to fall back on, but it leaves the door open enough that I’m not going to be stuck being a reporter for a floundering newspaper, or an anchor of the five o’clock news. Future employers will know that I know what I’m doing in a newsroom, so if they send me there to defend their company to the public, they’ll know I’ll be able to hold my own.

But why PR? PR is being an advocate without getting into politics. It allows me to take a stand and do public speaking, which I’ve always loved. It makes me spend time on Twitter and Facebook and blogs, which I do anyway. Plus I get to see both sides of the coin – the intriguing big business people and the familiar man on the street. Somebody needs to be a liaison between the two or else the world would be a pretty confusing place. I want to be that link that allows both to function. PR gives me the flexibility to work for basically anybody – whether it’s the federal government, a big box company, a hotel chain or even a local boutique firm. There’s agency PR, there’s corporate PR … the opportunities are endless. What I like changes daily, and with PR I don’t have to be locked into accounting, forensics, psychology, Spanish or hospitality. I can pick one or all of them, and still the options are wide open.

I’m looking forward to exploring these options, now while I’m still in college and after I graduate with hopefully a bunch of experience in my back pocket. And although I may not be ready to choose what I like just yet, at least I know I can always be a journalist.

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