She Said What?
By Bennie Sham, Internship Program Lead (@beesham)
One of the best things about working on the internship program is that I am able to participate in the interview process. It’s interesting to hear the applicants’ views on how/why they chose PR, where they see themselves going in the next several years and what career path they’d like to ultimately follow.
Most, if not all, our applicants are juniors in college and still undecided as to what they’d like to focus on for their careers. When asked why they’ve decided to do a PR internship, responses vary from “I’ve always wanted to do PR” to “I don’t know what PR is but wanted to try it out” to “I don’t know.” However, there are some that have a specific goal in mind. For example, one such candidate was hoping to open up her own PR firm one day. (I find that amazing. When I was in college, PR was not even on my list of career paths.)
There have only been a handful of times where I’ve spoken with an applicant and she/he was completely unprepared for the interview. Most of our interviews are done via phone calls, since we receive applicants from different cities across the nation. I’ve learned a lot on these calls. Mainly, what not to do and what not to say. There are a lot of tips I can give but the most important piece, which everything else would fall under, is professionalism.
This week, I had a chance to meet with the chairperson of BYU-Idaho’s Communication’s Department and their NYC liaison. They asked what is an important characteristic that applicants should have when applying to Fusion. Suzanne McGee, director, answered simply, “Professionalism.” She mentioned that as students begin applying to internships, they have to think about what their brand is, how they are presenting themselves.
Everything you do, online or in-person, adds to your personal brand. A badly written resume, an unprepared interview, provocative photos online, an angry blog — it all affects your image and in turn, your career. So, I urge you, whether you’re a veteran at interviews or a beginner, be careful what you say and what you do.
Suzanne recently sent me a link to a blog post titled “How Not to Get a Job in Public Relations,” written by an account executive at Newman PR. While the title should really explain it all, the post shows that even applicants applying for entry-level positions need some help with professionalism.