Saturday, 15 December 2012

Step 8 Part 2 - What to Expect When Looking for a PR Internship

The Long Overdue Part 2

Finally I have the time to get to part two of the internship hunt (see Part 1). This is fitting as a lot of students will be looking for internships in the New Year, so I need to get this part done before I can continue.

So as I mentioned, I contacted different places and people and my email quickly became overwhelming. This is why it was so important that I kept track of the places that I contacted either on my computer or on a separate sheet of paper. This helped me keep tabs on who had contacted me back and who I should follow-up with. 

Most of the responses I got were very positive, which I think was a reflection of my professionalism in contacting them. Many people said yes they have internship opportunities and wanted to know when I was available. This was great! They seemed quite eager (who wouldn’t be, it’s an unpaid internship after all).

The downside is the way my program is structured. See I have classes Tuesday to Thursday and therefore only have Monday and Friday of each week to accomplish my 105 hour internship. This is very different than some of the other PR programs available and something any future student will want to consider. There is the opportunity to do an internship in May, but that was not an option for me. I wanted to find an internship that I could do throughout the semester to complete my credit so that April and May could be a time for another internship! Am I crazy? Well it can be done. My goal is to seek out a longer term internship after graduation that could lead to a real job. 

A side note here on how I followed up with these people. I definitely replied and assured them that I was available in April/May and I asked about their process in selecting interns.  I set up times to follow-up with them in the New Year, kept the emails, added them to my contacts and added some of them on LinkedIn to demonstrate that I was serious. This is something that I recommend as it will give you more opportunities for future internships and internships are fundamental in PR.
Back to some other responses that I got. Some of the places were willing to take me on with my availability and they ranged in location. But I got this one email that seemed especially promising. This response was immediate and the owner of the firm asked to meet with me ASAP. This was a good sign and it was in Hamilton. The location might not seem important at first, but I quickly realized that as a commuter with no car, accessibility and distance were relevant. So I had to prepare for a meeting that could lead to an internship.

I made sure I brought my resume and my A-game. It was essentially an interview. It was also an opportunity to learn more about the firm which offers services lie PR, advertising, design and marketing. So it was a great place. I think the key in getting this internship was being positive throughout the interview and following up after with a thank you. So there isn’t much to guess here. I got the internship and I start in January. Overall I am really excited that my hunt for an internship worked out. 

To recap some lessons I can share with you: Set aside the time you need to find an internship, because it does take time; ask people about opportunities, because though Google is awesome it doesn’t hold all the answers in the universe; and always be professional, even as a student; also, don’t expect internships to always come to you, seek them out. In fact, I think the reason I got the internship was because they were so impressed that I had sought them out and contacts them. It shows initiative.

The most important tip I can offer is always keep in touch with the people you contact. It shows you are professional, grateful and interested. Even if they straight up say no, thank them and be polite. Maybe the next time you contact them they will remember you and your proactive nature. This is what I hope for anyway, as January and February approach and the real internship/job hunt starts. That is another story altogether and one that has yet to happen. But you can be sure I will keep you posted on the steps I take to get there.

Internships: Are Internships Worth it?; Infographic

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