I asked five professionals for tips on landing internships. Here is what they had to say:
Focus on the value you bring. The company you are interested in needs to understand how you can add value. Show you have initiative. Companies want to hire individuals who are independent and can hit the ground running. In an interview, it is important to communicate what you can achieve. Understand your strengths and accomplishments and have an example for each. When discussing your previous experiences, share what you accomplished and how you added value (hint: quantify your results).
Linda Williams Favero, program director of alumni career services at UO Career Center and Student Affairs
Stand out. Show your passion for public relations and for the company you are applying to. Companies are looking to hire someone who works hard and has previous experience. Think about how you use your time outside of school to work towards your career goals. Keep in mind that the work that you do for various clubs might be relevant – figure out how to leverage the experience you have. And don’t forget to follow up! Be persistent but not desperate. To do so, send a handwritten thank you card reiterating why you’re interested in the company.
Caitlin Albaugh, public relations manager at adidas America
Engage with the company on social media. If you continuously interact with the company, someone will likely notice. This does not mean favoriting every tweet the company posts. Treat the company like it is someone you want to be friends with. If the company tweets out a question, respond with an answer! And don’t hesitate to tweet your own questions to the company. Also, make sure to follow the company on each of your social media profiles (as long as your profiles are professional).
Samantha Luthra, senior account executive at Bread & Butter PR
Learn to code. The more you understand how information travels and how the Internet works, the easier it will be to conceptualize how things operate. Aside from the professional benefits, learning to code offers a host of personal benefits as well. Learning to think “algorithmically” will help you stand out in the job market, and allow you to think and solve problems creatively.
John Gillooly, lead data strategist at MSLGROUP
Become a well-rounded candidate. Over time, try to gain experience through a wide variety of internships. You don’t want three internal communication or media relations internships. You want multiple internships that offer a range of experience – from media relations and social media to investor relations and marketing. The broader skill set and range of work samples you can provide, the more attractive you are to potential employers.
Josh Netzer, administrative program director and Portland Senior Experience program director
Do you have any additional tips to secure an internship! Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Kaitlyn Chock is a PRSSA project manager for the 2013-14 school year. You can contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.