For college students about to graduate, the thought of “what’s next?” is running on repeat through their minds. I say this with certainty because four months ago I was that student wondering what was going to happen after I walked across the stage in my cap and gown. Students in the Public Relations major must also decide between corporate, nonprofit or agency for where they will begin their career.
In January 2014 I started a school internship at Vantage PR and fell in love with the agency lifestyle and the culture of Vantage. I knew that after I graduated in May I wanted to turn the internship into a full-time job so throughout the duration of my internship I worked very hard to help make sure this happened. Trying to use a PR internship to land your very own PR dream job? Here are 4 tips to put you on the right path:
- Be committed from the beginning and express interest. The best time to show that you’re invested in the internship isn’t at the end when your supervisor is doing your final evaluation; it’s from the first day you walk in. Come into the internship with an open mind and a willingness to do and learn as much as you can. Certain tasks may not be the most exciting, such as doing a clip search for client coverage and pulling together award applications in a word document to send around to the team, but everyone has to start somewhere. Showing that you’ll put as much effort into the less exciting tasks as you do the fun ones shows your dedication and enthusiasm.
- Take initiative. School interns have a certain hour requirement to meet for credit purposes. I made the decision to take advantage of how much time I could spend at my internship and interned an additional day. There are daily routine tasks that must be completed but once you’re comfortable with the day to day activities don’t be afraid to ask to work on different assignments. Offering to monitor upcoming tradeshow deadlines and EdCal opportunities for example demonstrates your interest in the agency’s clients and your desire to be given more tasks and accept more responsibility.
- There is no such thing as a stupid question! I can easily say that I asked thousands of questions between the time I started my internship at Vantage and the day I moved into a full-time position. As an intern you are constantly learning new things and being assigned tasks that you will have questions about. Each agency has its own personality and practices on how to do things but the best case scenario is when your team encourages questions and offers their insight. At times it might be intimidating to ask a question regarding a task or project that you’re assigned, however, I found that by asking questions it showed my team that I was paying attention and wanting to learn and improve my skills. Try to answer the question first on your own by searching, and then if you cannot figure it out ASK!!! Remember that there are no stupid questions.
- Be a team player. This may be one of the most important points I can offer. This is not limited to just the team that you work with on a daily basis either, being a team player means being willing to help any of your co-workers when they need it. If you have downtime during your internship consider offering help to other teams that could use it. That little effort can go a long way and demonstrate your ability to jump on to tasks and help wherever it may be needed that day.
I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to work for an incredible PR agency and I know it in part has to do with the four tips above. Take advantage of PR internships and what they have to offer to allow you to grow professionally. You never know, maybe one can turn into a dream job for you too!