Posts Tagged ‘Intern’

Landing a PR Internship

February 6, 2013

When I was an undergrad, I started applying for internships without a very clear objective. This approach yielded absolutely no results. Through much trial and error, I managed to land two. Now, sitting on the other side, poring over applications for our summer internship program, it’s quite clear what works and what doesn’t, and why I got the two that I did. Here are some tips for landing an internship in PR:

Internship Problems

The Search

  • Don’t spray & pray. Applying for an internship is not like playing the lottery. Spamming any and every potential employer’s inbox with your resume does not improve your chances of getting hired.
  • Don’t lie. If you think you have to misrepresent yourself to get the position, it probably isn’t right for you. This goes for everything from fudging numbers to faking enthusiasm. Insincerity is detectable in text, and this reflects especially badly on you if you’re applying for a position in communications.
  • Get a referral if you can. This often isn’t possible if you’re a student or recent grad with little to no experience, but you should still explore all your options. As this recent New York Times article explains, it’s more important than ever. One thing you can do while you’re still in school is build great relationships with professors in your department. Many have connections with professionals in their industry, and even if they don’t have an internship opportunity for you, you can ask to use them as a reference later on.
  • Don’t limit yourself to what’s on job/internship listing websites. You already know those listings are getting dozens of applicants. Don’t be afraid to reach out to any company you really want to work for – genuine enthusiasm will only help your cause.

The Cover Letter

  • Include one. If you’re applying through a web form, you can still find a way to include a cover letter. The cover letter is where you make your first impression, and without one, most employers won’t even look at your resume.
  • It’s also your writing test so make sure it’s flawless and have at least one other person look it over.
  • Don’t address it to, “to whom it may concern.” Take the time to find the name of the appropriate person. For a smaller firm, you can address it to the CEO. For a larger firm, find out who’s in charge of human resources or recruiting. If you can’t find it on the company’s website, call and find out.
  • Tailor it to the company and position you’re applying for. Show some indication that you’ve taken time to look into the company and what they do. Everyone likes to feel special.
  • Show, don’t tell. Giving concrete examples of how you’ve demonstrated great attention to detail or stellar interpersonal skills is much more convincing than merely saying that you have these qualities.
  • If you have any especially relevant work experience, summarize it here.

The Resume

  • Keep it to one page. No one applying for an internship has so much experience that it won’t fit on a single page.
  • If you state an objective on your resume, make sure it fits the position you’re applying for.
  • If your GPA isn’t very high, leave it off.
  • Think about how you can best outline your work and academic experience for the position you’re applying for. If you’ve held numerous part-time jobs while going to school, you probably don’t need to include every single one. Job descriptions should be tailored too. For example, if you’re listing your experience as a restaurant server for a PR position, you can focus more on the creative problem solving and guest service aspects of the job than the food handling or cleaning duties you had.

What really made a difference for me was narrowing my focus. I started out applying for many positions but then began to concentrate only on positions that I really wanted. That meant spending a lot of time doing research for every position, but in the end, it yielded positive results.

Lastly, if you do happen to come across your dream internship, don’t be afraid to be a little creative so you’ll really stand out. For a writing test for an editorial internship, I submitted my response using the company’s web template, so it looked like I’d really written a post on their blog. There are many famous examples, like this fellow, who designed his resume to look like an Amazon product page.

In the end, getting hired is never an exact science. Do you have any additional tips or success stories to share?

Diana Kim


Is Public Relations a Good Career Choice ?

October 12, 2011

Ten or 15 years ago, my answer would have been, no, go into marketing or management consulting. But I feel much better about the industry’s future these days.

Ten or 15 years ago, ad agencies were very much in ascendance and they had pocketbook power (i.e., the overwhelming majority of most companies’ marketing and communications budgets). Public relations, then considered the poor cousin of advertising, was dominated not only by the ad industry, but by men at the highest levels of the profession. At the lower levels, PR was considered “a “velvet ghetto” overrun by women. That might explain why PR salaries were (and still are) pathetic compared to advertising.

For many years, the public image of public relations has been negative. The predominant (and inaccurate, unfair) stereotype of a PR practitioner has been someone who engages in twisting the truth (described by the pejorative terms “flaks” and “spin”).

Today, however, ad agencies are often bypassed by clients who see the costs as out of proportion to the benefits, and who look to PR as not only more cost-efficient, but also as generally more effective in disseminating most corporate and product messages. Salaries are still not great, but there’s no salary growth anywhere right now (according to the New York Times, salaries have been dropping across theU.S.).  I don’t know the statistics, but it seems that young men are entering the profession in greater numbers, and (speaking cynically) that should help bring about better salaries for everyone in the industry.

What’s brought about these changes is the advent of online social interaction, which has provided a means for consumers to influence each other more than they are influenced by ad messages or even media coverage. PR has always been about two-way communication; listening to people and interpreting their attitudes in order to better position an organization and communicate its messages.  These skills are of paramount importance in a social media context. With new skills to master and novel online tools to harness, the PR profession has been changing rapidly. It’s an exciting time for PR, which has taken on much greater importance in this environment, a fact that marketing professionals and the C-suite have acknowledged.

PR has come into its own, and it’s attracting new college graduates in large numbers. I asked our fall semester intern, a senior communications major atCityCollege, why she chose PR. Here’s her response.

Lucy Siegel

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Why PR? A College Student’s Perspective

Catese Shirer, Bridge's fall intern

When I was young I never aspired to be a public relations professional. What I had in mind was a career as a lawyer, doctor or teacher, the kinds of professions that my parents imagined for me! So how and why did I get into public relations?

To start with, I never knew this profession existed until I was in high school. At the time, I aspired to be a top-of-the-line reporter covering the latest news. However, the more I learned about journalism the more I realized it was a very intense and competitive field.  While there’s nothing wrong with competition, I didn’t like the idea of competing with my co-workers to have my story chosen for publication over theirs.

In addition, my perception was that journalism is all about relaying cold, hard facts.  I knew that journalists are not allowed to be subjective. In PR, however, I sensed that I could allow my creative juices to flow. PR allowed me to think outside the box, voice my ideas and help turn those ideas into reality.

One of the things I look for in my career is versatility, and PR fits the bill. The work is ever-changing, and so is the field of public relations. I come into work knowing that each day will be different. I’m able to stay connected with the world through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I can also plan events, meet new people and network all at the same time. There’s so much variety that I know I won’t be bored.

Don’t get me wrong – PR is not all “glitz and glam.”  It’s necessary to put in time and effort and be really dedicated in order to succeed. Client needs have to be met accurately and efficiently. It takes a strong  work ethic and an outgoing personality to make it, and I feel I have both. I’ve chosen this field because I expect PR to be a fulfilling, meaningful and challenging career.  That’s why I’m here!

Catese Shirer, Intern, Bridge Global Strategies

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