Our professors repeat one word to us public relations students over and over: experience, experience and more experience. But how do we get that experience?
All PR students are encouraged to get internships. This gives us much-needed experience, opens up our job prospects and widens our professional network.
Of course gaining experience seems a lot simpler during a lecture. All students easily envision being able to write that dream internship on their resumes. However, obtaining that internship seems like a very daunting task.
If you are stuck in that internship rut, here are some tips that helped me in the past.
Don’t be afraid to use Google or your favorite search engine. Have a city in mind? Just type in “PR agencies in Washington, D.C.” or “PR internships in Chicago,” for example. You’ll be surprised at how much relevant information may turn up.
Ask your friends, ask your family, ask your neighbors, ask your professors . . . ask everybody! We live in a 6-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon world and you never know who other people know. You could be one step away from the guy who gets drinks with the CEO of Edelman or goes golfing with the CEO of Ketchum. Just remember, it never hurts to ask.
Don’t limit yourself to filling out only the general internship applications for big name PR firms. A lot of small, cool, independent agencies are easily found on the Internet. Contact their human resources staff directly. Send a short, professional e-mail inquiring about internships. You never know who will reply!
Think Outside the Box
All PR majors don’t end up working for PR firms and agencies. It’s the same case for internships. All companies, big and small, look to become more visible and marketable. Search within your community. Any non-profits? Family-owned shops? Walk into local businesses and offer your services as a PR major. You may be surprised at the responses.
Work for Free
An unpaid internship is better than no internship. If you’re having trouble finding that paid internship, work for free. Experience can be worth so much more than money.
Regardless of how you decide to go about finding the perfect internship, remember above all to be confident, be yourself and be open to new things.