Stephanie Heckman

Six Tips for Finding an Internship

In Branding, Career, College, Public Relations on February 27, 2013 at 1:27 am

Finding internships during college is the most important step one can take to starting a career. Internships are the new entry-level jobs, especially in PR. During these challenging economic times, most “entry-level” jobs now require one to two years of experience and many technical skills. The question many recent grads ask is: “How do I gain experience without having experience?”

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1. Increase your marketability. If you are majoring in journalism, communication or public relations, consider adding a minor in another marketable subject such as business or nonprofit management, professional writing, video editing or graphic design. If you have in a liberal arts major such as English, consider increasing your relevance in PR through taking elective courses in editing or business writing with perhaps a double minor in a communication or journalism with one of the above minors. Any courses that can increase your amount of marketable skills should be considered. Try to find a way to connect your education with the specific field you are interested in joining.

2. Keep gaining experience. Writing is the most important skill you can have in PR. By becoming a college reporter for at least a year during college, you can learn important skills in reporting, interviewing, writing and editing that many hopeful PR professionals did not learn in college. After you gain experience as a reporter, considering venturing into becoming an editor or a freelance writing. Many local publications and start-up online magazines do not pay writers or pay very little. However, these writing clips can be used for your portfolio and may lead to paid writing gigs. You should also consider doing volunteer PR, fundraising, social media or event planning work for a local nonprofit that you support. Even a few hours a week can lead to an internship.

3. Develop your personal brand. Even if you are a first-year in college, it’s important to start promoting your personal image and brand. Create a professional Twitter, Facebook. Pinterest and LinkedIn used to follow important brands and organizations in your industry, industry news and media. Use these social media websites to share links to relevant news stories, articles in popular marketing, advertising and PR journals or magazines and recent academic news. Create positive relationships with journalists, communication professionals and others in industry. By having professional social media accounts, you not only demonstrate to your future employers that you have social media experience but you also show that you are a go-getter.

4. Talk to your college’s career service office. Most universities and colleges have an underused career service office. Through career services, you can have your resume improved and learn interviewing skills. Many times, you can also gain information about internships and jobs. Your university may also have a webpage that can be used for job searches.

5. Look through your department’s website. I found my most current PR internship through my university’s School of Communication. There is a huge amount and diversity of organizations seeking interns. You should also be able to find internships through the school of arts and sciences. If you have a minor, it may help open you to even more internships in related subjects.

6. Utilize your resources to find the perfect internship. Think about what industries you would most like to enter. Are you a finance type? Or are you more interested in museums and galleries? Do you want to promote politicians or celebrities? Or are you more interested in book or music publicity? Write a list of companies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and boutique agencies. that you would like to work for in the future. Begin following them on LinkedIn and trying to connect with professionals in these fields. Many times you can find information about internships directly through the organizations’ websites.

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  1. […] gaining more experience than your peers. How do you find an internship? Check out my prior post on obtaining an internship. Keep your ego in check and be willing to work hard and for little or no money. If you put the time […]

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