By: Taylor Glow, Spring 2018 Intern
As a college student, I would often find myself wondering, “Does it really matter if I have an internship?” Not that I didn’t mind working or being a part of extracurricular activities, but the idea of finding an internship seemed like a daunting task. It’s kind of intimidating when you are surfing LinkedIn sifting through internships in your area, and you feel under-qualified for every single one of them. I had to make myself realize that the point of an internship is to help assist you to become qualified for the job you apply for after graduation and to gain experience in your field. Internships are an incredible tool for you to learn the ropes, make mistakes and be taught under qualified people who have been in your shoes.The foundation that has been set from my past couple of internships over the years has created a launching pad for my future careers. Here is some advice on how to get a great internship and be well prepared for your job after graduation.
Establish your name.
We are in PR for goodness sake! In a saturated market, we have to make ourselves stand out among the rest. You can start by making a cohesive brand for yourself by building a professional resume and portfolio. Be sure to become well versed in using LinkedIn and have a page that reflects what is said on your resume. On LinkedIn, you can start to network with locals in your area that can eventually help provide you with an internship or a job. Not only should you be active finding connections on LinkedIn, but also start meeting professionals in your area at local events or on your college campus. Get your name out there!
This can sometimes feel awkward. I get it… you don’t want to be “braggy”. Maybe don’t do this at a dinner party, because that’s when it becomes annoying, but in this scenario it is totally fine to sell yourself and showcase your skills and talents. Like I said before, the public relations world is a saturated market, so you have to be sure to stand out among the rest. When applying to an internship or a job, make sure to look over the job qualifications. If you are qualified for that position, then list specifically what you have been able to do that makes you a great candidate. What can YOU add specifically to that position and why does this company need YOU? Sell it. Own it.
Of course, you want internships that have something to do with what you are interested in. It’s obvious that the point of an internship is to better prepare you for your future careers. However, I do think there is value in having well-rounded experiences. What I mean by this is that another important reason to have an internship is to gain experience. If you are able to have a couple of them throughout college, then make sure you aren’t doing the same thing every time. You are going to be much more marketable to an employer later down the road if you have been able to do several different types of jobs. Be open to new experiences because you never know what you could gain from them!
Hope that’s a little boost of encouragement. You might not enjoy every internship you end up having but that’s okay. That is why you do them, to figure out what you like and dislike. The experiences you can gain and the people you get to meet are all worth every second of your time. Okay, go apply now!