Attention aspiring PR professionals, we see you clinging to your 50 plus, and arguably “important” (to you) tabs open on your internet browser, casting your application net far and wide with the hopes of breaking into PR by landing the perfect internship. After all, “You need experience to gain experience,” and that is definitely true when it comes to public relations, marketing and social media jobs.
Surprisingly, many intern applications get deleted immediately, or are never even read. To make sure yours at least make it to the hiring manager’s desk, make sure you know the following do’s and don’ts when it comes to applying for internships.
1. The Early Bird Gets a Seat at the Table
Don’t: wait until a few weeks before the spring semester ends to begin the job hunt. Many agencies have an internal deadline for each semester of new internship hires.
Do: apply to internships a semester before you wish to start interning, taking initiative, and become proactive in your search to provide a more extensive selection in your submission.
2. Network + Networth
Don’t: assume that every job is a click away. In an industry of skilled communicators, many professionals find jobs through their network.
Do: attend local networking events hosted by your university or local public relations organization chapter to exercise your networking skills and make important contacts.
3. Follow Up to Follow ThroughDon’t: submit an application and let it float out into the void
Do: follow up with your application. The best way to stand out amongst other applicants is to address your cover letter to a person in HR. Submitting a quick “thank you” letter through LinkedIn messenger can make all the difference as the company vets knew talent.
4. Be Selective
Don’t: obligate yourself to apply to every position you may see on LinkedIn or Indeed. You will lose steam if you don’t focus your job search. Close a few of those search tabs; it’s going to be okay!
Do: keep a spreadsheet of the positions and companies that most interest you. An internship needs to provide you the necessary experience that will prepare you for your first entry-level job. Start becoming a little more selective in your search, know your worth, and add tax.
5. The Willingness to Work for Free
Don’t: shy away from unpaid opportunities. No one wants to work for free, but PR is a labor of love and passion. Understand that the industry was built and founded on the credibility of its workers. Gaining experience through a humble road where knowledge is the compensation will pay off.
Do: what works best for you and your schedule. On a college budget, seek internships close to your daily commute to school, and be sure to get college credit for your efforts. This makes unpaid opportunities manageable.
By leveraging your network, applying early, and being clear and concise about why you are the right fit in your application, you’ll be well on your way to landing a great internship this year.