Since starting college, I have tried to do everything that would help prepare me for success in my future career; I have always stayed on top of my assignments and grades and have joined several organizations. However, it recently hit me that I am almost half-way through college and am still missing a key ingredient to both a solid preliminary resume and a well-rounded academic career: hands-on experience in the PR field.
Since becoming involved with PRowl Public Relations, I am already gaining a lot of insight into the PR industry and have had some great opportunities to grow. Yet it is no secret that internships are one of the best ways to gain pre-career experience. Here’s what bothers me: many internships require previous experience and a lack of experience may lead to difficulty getting an internship. Paradoxically, though, if you can’t get an internship, it’s hard to get experience.
Thus, I have always been intimidated by the idea of applying for internships. Honestly, part of me still is, but I have decided to embrace this challenge. Recently, I have put a lot of energy into trying to figure it all out. Here are some important tips I have gathered from my inquiries:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay if you feel as though you don’t know how to begin. Asking those around you with more knowledge, experience and expertise is one of the best ways to learn more about the process. In my experiences, people are very willing to help.
Put yourself out there. Let people know that you are interested in learning more about PR and developing further experience as an intern. Social networking sites like Twitter can be great for accomplishing this end. The more you put yourself on the radar, the more likely you are to stumble upon good opportunities or helpful connections. Use your resources!
Develop some sort of portfolio. Most internships require writing samples as part of the application process. If you do not yet have many formal samples to use, this problem can be solved creatively. Some employers will accept short papers or news stories as writing samples. If not, choose a current topic and write a press release about it. This is a great way of practicing your skill while also developing a portfolio.
Wait for the right one. Think about your level of experience, the time you have available to commit, the employer’s expectations, and the skills or experiences you hope to gain from the opportunity. Wait for the internship best suited for what you have to offer and what you hope to learn.
Take the plunge. Once you have found an internship that sounds like a good fit, apply for the position! Don’t be nervous! Commit to the process and follow through. You never know until you try.
This brings us to exactly where I am in the process of becoming an intern. I have found a position that sounds like a great fit from both angles and am looking forward to the adventures the future has in store as I embark on the application and interview process. Hopefully this experience will bring me one step closer to realizing my full potential as a PR professional!
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Emily Woodward. Follow her on Twitter: @ecwdwd