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A New Route to Your Future

Posted At: April 9, 2008 12:24 PM
by Amelie Smith

Write a paper. Take a test. Give a presentation. Find a summer internship. For some students, work is never ending. As the world is becoming more competitive, hard work becomes more of an expectation.

With the growing number of college graduates, the need for going beyond a basic college education is vital. Now, it is becoming a requirement for students to have hands-on experience in the public relations field before obtaining an entry-level position with a company. To keep up with this trend, many companies offer internship programs for public relations students currently enrolled in college or who have recently graduated.

Now, not only are there internship programs available for students, but often this is the only way into the company. The trend of large public relations firms hiring employees out of their intern pools is growing at a fast rate. In some cases, completing an internship with a particular company is necessary for future employment.

Glen Schwartz, a former intern coordinator for a global public relations firm, said his office has been using an internship program for at least 11 years. He said the qualities they look for when choosing an intern are previous experience, an open mind and someone who is quick on their feet.

“Firms have certain qualities they look for,” Schwartz said. “With us, we look for interns that are not only resourceful and seek opportunities on their own, but who have the discipline to work independently, as well as with teams, and have flexibility.”

Regarding hiring employees from within the intern pool, Schwartz said his office utilizes both current and previous interns. He said the number of current interns hired depends on what his office’s needs are at the time the internship ends. If positions later become available in his office, he said one of the first places he will look to fill them are his previous interns.

“We love to hire from within because they know the system and know what type of work we like to do,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz’s internship program closely resembles the work environment of his full-time employees. He said one of the main goals for interns is to understand what it is like to work day-in and day-out for his firm.

“Interns aren’t here to do administrative work. They are here to support accounts and be team members,” Schwartz said. “This is very important because we have a big firm name, but people don’t come here for that. They come to get the experience and a nice mix.”

So the next time you think a relaxing vacation at the beach is the best way to spend your summer, think again. While the traditional view of summer is always nice, perhaps now it is time to focus on opening some doors for your future.

E-mail: Glen Schwartz

How valuable do you think internships are? Do you think hiring within an internship pool is a fair method for choosing employees?

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