While some PR agencies still provide on-the-job training, most employers tend to hire candidates who already have some experience in the field.
If you’re still in college and you’d like to get hired when you graduate, now’s the time to gain some hands-on experience. Get an internship!
Here are 10 reasons why working
for free at a PR firm for a whole semester will rock your socks:
1- Education 2.0
The difference between taking a lecture or discussion course and having an internship is that you’re surrounded by people who do the work you want to do in the future. Being faced with the realities of a career in PR allows you to determine what you don’t know and gives you a safe platform to ask for feedback and practice until you get it right.
2- It’s Real Life
You get a front-row seat to the inner workings of PR. Being an intern allows you to experience both the glamorous and less than glamorous (but vital) factors that come into play in a “real world” professional setting. Spending a semester at a PR agency gives you a chance to test out what you’ve learned in school, and to decide whether you chose the course of study that suits your skills and interests.
3- Pressure = Motivation
As an intern, you’re not considered an employee, but you’re held to VERY high standards of quality and consistency. From my experience, a few added layers of pressure can keep you motivated to focus and deliver your best work. Expect deadlines and impromptu projects. But don’t be afraid to ask questions or guidance when things get complicated. This may be your job one day, and it’s your responsibility to find out what’s expected of you.
4- You Get Something to Show For It
When applying for post-graduation jobs, what better way to show employers that you’re qualified than to show them the work you’ve done? Most internships require you to build a portfolio showcasing the projects you’ve accomplished. This can be a great asset in helping you stand out from other job applicants. Portfolios are also great for future employers to get a overview of your skills and determine what kind of position best suits you within their agency.
Although it can be very intimidating to walk up to strangers and introduce yourself, do it! In PR, knowing the right people is key. I’m still working on that one. The first time I went to a networking event, I stayed silent in a corner for about an hour, then I went home. But the fourth time around, I knew what to expect, and I wasn’t afraid anymore. I met tons of people, and we switched business cards. When you make contacts with professionals in your field, you have the opportunity to learn about different employment, personal development, and even internship opportunities in your area.
Keep in mind that your priority in college is to do everything in your power to make yourself marketable once you graduate. So make a list of all the PR agencies in your area and browse through their website for internship opportunities. If you can’t find anything on their website, contact the company and request to be connected with their HR department. The advising department at your university can be a great resource for locating potential internship employers.
Show the world everything that you are.
– Miss Columnist
P.S: Check out my blog post this upcoming Sunday July 12th for tips and tricks on completing the application process for your first PR internship!