‘Get an internship.’ This phrase has been ingrained in my head for as long as I can remember. Finding an internship in the PR industry is no easy task, but internship experience is a must-have to land your dream job someday.
Here is my best advice to help you secure a PR internship:
- Join the Club – No matter what school you attend, there are a million different clubs and organizations you can join. Find clubs that are relevant to you, such as the Journalism Club or Public Relations/Advertising Club. Does your school not have these clubs? Start your own! That would look great on your resume.
- Go Greek – You may want to get involved in other organizations like being in Greek Life. Get experience for your future internship by running the social media accounts for your sorority or fraternity. Once you’re in an organization, you’ll have the opportunity to run for an executive board position, which helps you gain leaderships skills, another quality admired in the PR industry.
- Do it Yourself – If joining a club or organization is too much of a commitment for you, do some freelance writing for your college’s newspaper. Write articles about events on your campus or general news stories. These pieces can be displayed in your portfolio.
Working in the PR industry requires multitasking skills and someone who can perform well in all situations. Showing how involved you are in college will give you more to talk about on the interview and prove how qualified you are for the internship.
- Recognize – When applying to PR agencies for internships, you’ll notice the industries vary from fashion to healthcare to technology to lifestyle and so on. Every time you apply for a job, it is important to tailor each resume and cover letter you submit. Change your wording and objective to concentrate on certain skills and qualities for each specific industry or internship.
- Research – It takes research and hard work to customize your resume and cover letter accurately. Look at the job description given and incorporate those details into your submission. By taking the time to do this, you are showing genuine interest and the hiring manager will see you are willing to put the effort in when you get the job.
- Relevance – Being as relevant as possible is crucial because it will allow you to stand out from the crowd of other applicants and show why you’re the best choice. Having a customized resume and cover letter is your chance to shine and show your personality before your in-person interview.
- Rename Files – When you save your resume, make sure to include your full name in the title before sending it to the company. Step it up a notch and change it from “Resume.doc” to “JoeSmithResume.doc.” This is something many people over think, but it is actually quite important. If you send the resume without including your name, you are missing an opportunity to brand yourself. The person on the other end is receiving tons of emails, so help them out (while making yourself stand out) by including your name in the title.
- Clean Up – Sometimes we may forget our future employers can check up on us through search engines and more specifically, social networks. In this day and age, social media is a key part of the hiring process. These sites are the first place employers will go to find out more information about you. Relax, you don’t need to go deleting all your accounts, but if you have everything on your profile completely blocked and private, employers may think you have something to hide. Allow your classy profile picture to be visible.
- Represent – Make sure your profiles accurately represent the person you are, without baring it all. Most people like to go out and have a good time on the weekend, but employers don’t want to see pictures of you holding red cups or dancing on a table. Your social media profiles are just snapshots of who you are, they will find out more information about you on the job interview.
Build a Portfolio.
- Show and Tell – The hiring process for PR internships is highly competitive, so developing a portfolio is your chance to show your best work and set you apart from the others. If you don’t have any experience in PR, look at previous work you’ve done elsewhere and see how it applies to the industry.
- Everything Counts – Your portfolio can include pieces such as relevant class assignments, writing samples, screen shots of your most successful tweets, blog posts you’ve written, and more. The important thing is that your portfolio is neat, easy-to-read and professional.
Once you get an interview, make sure you dress the part, do your homework and follow up – these will separate you from the troves that won’t. Following these tips have gotten me three PR internships as well as a full-time job in the industry. If you work hard and keep this advice in mind, you will be on your way to landing a PR internship in no time.