How to Land a PR Internship

How to Land a PR Internship

 

By Baraneh Kazemi, Intern

Is your resume updated? Have you edited that cover letter yet? How impressive are you with social media?

As a recent marketing graduate, I can’t tell you how many times I faced these questions throughout my senior year – not only from myself but my professors, career counselors, and just about anyone else who found out I was about to enter the workforce.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for public relations specialists are expected to grow by 24 percent through 2018 so this means more opportunities!

Whether you’re still a student or are curious about what PR is all about, I wanted to share a couple PR internship hunting tips that helped me land my current position at Fusion, and which may help you land a dream internship.

Where to look?

  • Craigslist has its fair share of creepy and/or entertaining posts but I have actually had a lot of luck finding opportunities on there
  • Mediabistro – Sign up for free
  • LinkedIn – Make sure your profile is updated and you have a clear picture
  • University alumni database
  • Mashable
  • Networking – Ask family and friends, reach out to PR professionals, or attend speaking events

Once you find a job posting, what do you do?

  • Send a condensed version of your cover letter in the body of an email and be sure to include the answers to the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in the position?
    • Why are you a good fit for the position?
    • What is your availability?
  • Attach your resume and full length cover letter

Cover letter tips

  • Captivate your reader by making it personal, yet professional
  • Do your research on the company, and reference what you find interesting
  • Keep it to one page

Resume tips

  • Make sure it’s organized and easy on the eyes
  • Use strong verbs for concise and powerful job descriptions: initiated, marketed, organized, led, performed, managed, designed
  • Show diversity with unrelated jobs
    • Prospective interns are not expected to have a ton of experience in the PR industry so that summer waitressing job is important – emphasize your experience in communication and leadership!
  • Keep it to one page
  • Have references available from past jobs just in case

Preparation

  • Start tweeting!
    • You can show that you’re on top of industry news by tweeting links to relevant articles
      • My favorites tech news sites: Mashable, TechCrunch, WSJ online
  • Updated your LinkedIn profile and check Facebook privacy settings
    • 1 in 3 employers reject applicants based on Facebook tweets (CareerBuilder Survey)
    • 56% of employers check applicants’ Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (OPP)
  • Get familiar with industry terms, websites, and blogs
    • i.e. Media list, pitch, media kit, press release, media outreach

Interview

  • Dress professionally even if it seems like a casual work environment
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early
  • Research the company and people you are interviewing with before
    • Check out their social media sites too
  • RELAX, be conversational
    • They want to know that spending all day in an office with you will be an enjoyable experience
  • Prepare unique questions
    • Not solelywhat is a typical day like?” or “what is the work culture like?”
    • Maybe something like “I noticed _____was a client of yours. What was it like working with them and what initiatives did you complete together?”
  • Send a thank you email at the end of that work day
    • A handwritten note is even better if you are not expecting to hear back from the company for at least a week
  • Understand that PR is not all about celebrities and Hollywood events
    • Make sure that the company you’re interviewing with conducts PR for a field that interests you
  • Emphasize:
    • Your willingness to learn
    • Your ability to take initiative
    • Your communication skills (verbal and writing)

Keeping this checklist handy definitely things helped me cover my bases during my internship search. Happy hunting!

1 Comment
  • Allie

    August 20, 2012 at 10:26 am Reply

    I am so happy to see this post. I recently recommended the topic to another Fusion blogger last week, as we are on the hunt for interns for the fall semester in NY. These are some great tips, nice first post Baraneh!

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