Read on for your internship hunt guidebook!
Hunting Season; by Trenae Dunigan
To answer the when, I would say whenever it is convenient and whenever one is available. Always seize opportunity when you can. You never know when another opportunity like that might present itself again. Also the more experience you have under your belt the more you will have to offer various employees. What’s the worst that can happen, someone says no? Well you just go find another one.
The how is a little more complicated. In PR a lot of opportunities are based on word of mouth, networking and also recommendations. That old saying, “it’s not what you know but who you know”. You want to be persistent but not crazy. You want to be yourself, but not an open book. You want to leave a good impression and make them remember you.
May the odds ever be ever in your favor!
The Thrill of the Hunt; by Alexa Shouneyia
My search began when I asked myself the million-dollar question, “what do I want to do with my life?” The answer I arrived at is one I’d been thinking about since I was a child: I want to work for the music industry. From there, I had to think about what opportunities there are around Grand Rapids to break into such an industry. That lead me to Cumulus, one of the biggest broadcasting companies in the US that has an office here (they run 105.3, 94.5, 107.3, 96.9 and AM 1340). I emailed one of the on-air personalities expressing my interest in an internship, and before I knew it, I was in the studio for an interview. It was an absolutely wonderful semester and I was able to make a few good friends and a ton of connections.
Your first internship will be the gateway into new connections and new experiences you can put on your resume, and often leads to new opportunities. After 2 weeks of interning, I was asked to join the Promotions team as a paid employee in addition to my internship, which is huge for my resume.
The Basics of Finding an Internship; by Teresa Bennink
The first step I would take is to examine what you think you would like to do in the future and start looking at those industries. When you find a company you would like to work for, visit their website and check their open positions. Not finding an internship there? Be proactive and call the Human Resources Department or search a site such as LinkedIn to try to find a connection at that company. Send an email with your resume and explain your interests in that company, and be sure to explain what you can offer them.
A valuable tool for searching for a first internship is your advisor, or Career Services. Grand Valley’s site, http://gvsu.edu/careers/ offers workshops, lists job fairs, and posts open positions including internships. Career services can help you build your resume and provide interview tips. Your advisor is a great source to utilize for connections within the field you are looking into. Schedule several meetings with your advisor to discuss career goals, and he may have a great lead to connect you with. Plan to attend a Career Fair to meet with representatives from local companies. Meeting with these companies and representatives may lead to an internship, but they will also help you get comfortable speaking with prospective employers.
Professional sites, such as PRSA, may post internships, however the most valuable aspect of a group like this is to help you find a mentor and help you network. Most professional organizations plan events through the year that not only offer great information and advice, but connect you with those who may be looking for an intern.
There are many websites you can visit to assist in finding an internship. Two to look at are http://www.internships.com/ and http://www.internshipprograms.com/.
Make sure your resume and portfolio are up to date and ready to present at any time. You will want to have it available when your mentor suggests that you meet with a prospective company. Polish your interview skills and have your best interview wardrobe ready.
Here I Am; by Kelsey Martin
So, where do I begin??? With step one of course.
Step one: Add pizazz
Although our academic backgrounds may be a big consideration amongst future employers; skills and experience can be a notable advantage. It’s all about providing your future employer the perception that you are not only experienced, you are also a highly motivated individual. Right? So blog, join clubs, travel or volunteer. Do whatever you can to add pizazz. I think that it not only makes your resume look better, it also hones the attributes that would match your compatibility with your job of choice.
Step two: Ask for help
Throughout our college careers, it’s safe to say you’ve been told to network. And well frankly, if you haven’t heard that you must have been living under a rock. I’m going to assume that you did the networking you were told to do, in which case use that to your advantage. Ask PR professionals or even professors for help in your search. They just might know someone who is looking for a PR professional.
And if you didn’t network-- that’s OK. You still have time to do so and you can still ask for help from career services. They are here for you whether you are a student or recent alumni.
Step three: Know what you like, and what you don’t
I’ve always been the type of person who can tell you what I don’t like better than what I do. I think it is partly because I like way too many things. So I’d rather exclude things to make my decision easier. At least over the years, I’ve learned what I don’t like. And well, I know that I don’t want to be THAT student who is dropped into the quivering cold of the job hunt. So rather than waiting, it’s time to make my way into the professional world.
Step four: Have confidence
Yes, we can all admit the job search is scary. But we've worked hard at school for a reason. You and I have skills that employers will value because of the amazing professors at Grand Valley. Again, graduating will be terrifying but if you have faith and confidence in yourself, you will get to where you want to be.
Good luck in the job hunt-- regardless of if it’s for an internship or that “big girl” job you’ve always dreamed of.
How to Secure an Internship; by Jailyn Glass
I landed my internship with the Women’s Center at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). This internship wasn't handled to me, but was casually discussed when volunteering for PRSSA and GrandPR. The student volunteering with me was the current intern for the Women’s Center. The internship, Social Media PR internship, was created to help manage the Women’s Center’s social media (Twitter, Facebook, and CMS content for their website.) I learned a lot during this experience.
Here are some take backs for finding your own internship (or next internship):
1. Speak Up
I never met the girl before volunteering with her. I didn’t know anything about her until we talked to pass time by. Topics ranged from our living arrangements, how did we got that volunteering opportunity, classes and internships. I mentioned I was in need of an internship, and she told me about hers. The next thing you know I received contact information from her and the Associate Director of the Women’s Center.
I don't think I would've landed that internship, if I didn't pursue the subject more. It’s okay to speak up to learn more on something you are interested in. This is networking at its best, without even knowing it. Find a mutual topic to spark conversation.
2. Be PRoactive
The next step after getting the contact information was to research and contact the Associate Director about the position. Within a week, I meet and interviewed with the director, shadowed the current intern, and accepted the position for the winter 2014 Social Media PR intern.
Being PRoactive can work out great. If it is something that you want, you should work for it and put your best foot forward to obtain it.
3. Think outside the box
In the world of PR, there are a lot of niches we can work in. Social media has always been interesting to me. I was excited when I was first started. Although I love social media and all aspects about, I know I would not want a PR career just in social media.
Internships are like job experiences - they help you find something you are passionate about. Use internships, class projects & assignments, and organizations to help find your passions before graduating. It’s best to try something now while thinking out the box to find if you like or hate something before hitting the job market.
There are plenty of internships out there. How will you secure yours?
The Internship Hunt; by Ashley Pratt
Don’t fret; we’re here to help you. Step by step.
But first we have to be honest with you. Everyone goes through this process, and we can tell you, this does NOT happen over night. Money doesn’t grow on trees, pigs don’t fly, and internship searching certainly isn’t an easy one-step thing.
Take it from someone with personal experience. I was desperately searching for an internship last minute in the last semester of my senior year. I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to graduate. I searched like crazy, posted on social media, looked on Laker Jobs, went on agency tours, and sent out multiple applications.
But you know what I kept the whole time? My network. You never know what opportunities can fall in your lap when least expected. Just when I was almost at my breaking point, a miracle happened. My friend approached me with a new internship opportunity with a company downtown. When he heard about the opening, he immediately thought of me and knew I was still looking. He was having a business lunch with the company and because of our strong network, he mentioned my name for consideration. I was called in for an interview and hired on the spot!
Okay, I get it. My situation was rare and maybe a bit lucky? But I learned the single most important rule in Communications. Networking. Sometimes its not what you know, its who you know. So next time your searching for something, take a look around and utilize your network. Keep your opportunities open and good things will come.
Of course a good resume doesn’t hurt either. Flaunt your strong suits, share your philanthropic deeds, and spread a positive light on all that you do. Involvement is key. Companies want to hire a well-rounded individual that has many talents.
We all start somewhere, so it’s okay to be nervous. Tell yourself it’s okay to make mistakes because how else are we supposed to learn?
Once you get your first internship, the rest gets easier. I promise. You know why? Because your network grows. Not to mention, so does your resume. So just take a deep breath and remember the lesson here. You’ll have an internship in no time.
The Internship Process; by Kayla Foster
When I initially started the hunt, I started looking at businesses in my hometown so I could work and live at home over the summer. Honestly, I had no idea where to start looking so I just found places that interested me and emailed people asking if they did internships and most of them did.
Even though the actual internship in that case didn’t work out, how I went about finding it did. If there’s a place you think you’d like to work – ask them! It never hurts to ask. Most people like helping students if out if they can.
Now, as for the internship I have now, I actually came across on Twitter one day. Someone I knew from school posted the opening. I saw it and thought I might like to do that and left it alone. After seeing the internship opening a few times I decided it was fate and that I should apply, and I’m glad I did.
So, I applied for the internship as Student Writer and sent my resume. Resumes are important! A good one can make or break you when it comes down to it. After that, I had an interview with a few people I now work with and they gave me a writing test, which leads me to my next point – be prepared for some sort of test. If you’re applying for an internship like mine, that is writing specific (or specific in general), they’ll probably not only as for a sample or two of your writing, but have to take a test as well.
Another great thing, internships give you experience and future employers will like that. They are a great way to apply what you’ve been learning your entire college career to an actual job. You’ll also acquire new skills from your internship, making it that much more valuable to your college experience.
Internships also give you the chance to network. Be confident, go above and beyond. Get noticed by your boss. A good internship experience can lead to a future job down the road.
While this is my first internship and I have enjoyed all of it, I hope it is my last. Only because I am graduating in the spring and hope to have a full time job by then. Even though I have only had my one internship, I would recommend doing as many as you can. Internships can show you what you love and more importantly what you don’t love.
Happy internship hunting!
The Hunt; by Thomas Pattee
The very first thing you should do when thinking about landing that first internship or job is really thinking about what you want. Once you figure out what type of internship/job you would most want in your head, begin searching. A great resource to use would be the GVSU job/internship’s Facebook page, Linkedin, general web searches, your peers, and your professors.
2. Set a goal
Give yourself deadlines during your hunt. Whether it be submitting a certain number of resumes per week or hours dedicated to searching for your dream internship/job a week; set deadlines for yourself.
3. Apply Apply Apply
Did I mention apply? Whether it be the process of actually applying for the job/internship you ant or just applying yourself, APPLY. One of the worst things you can do during your job/internship hunt is giving yourself too much idle time. Don't forget to follow up on those job/internship applications. No one ever got ahead by doing nothing.
4. Don't fear failure
One of the biggest set back of the job/internship hunt can be the anxiety and nervousness of failure. Embrace it. Don't let this anxiety push you back. Email the people you are too scared to email, take risks, throw yourself out there, ask don't forget to occasionally ask for help. professors offer an excellent resource for not just guidance but networking as well.
5. Don't compare yourself to others success
Especially in a university setting, at times you compare yourself to others in your program who might have had more success in landing that job/internship than you have. Do not compare yourself to them, everyone has a different path. If anything, always be supportive of your peers and remember a rising tide lifts all boats. Just work hard, never give up, and that tide will be bound to come soon enough.
The Internship Hunt; by Erin Herner
Before you even begin the hunt, take time to look at your resume and cover letter. Are they well organized and in a font that could be easily read? What about spelling errors? Are there any? How is the layout? Your resume should be no longer than a page, and have a good balance of both space and text.
Want more tips? Check out this article by Forbes magazine on how to write the perfect resume and cover letter: http://www.forbes.com/sites/naomishavin/2014/07/16/tips-for-the-perfect-resume-and-cover-letter/
2. While you are updating your resume, you might as well update your social media profiles.
Is your LinkedIn profile updated? Is there anyone new you can connect with, or someone that could endorse you for a skill? What about your Instagram and Facebook, is there anything on there that you wouldn’t want a future employer to see, let alone your grandma?
*Please spend time cleaning up your online profile.
3. Campus Resources
You might as well take advantage of all the services your university offers while you’re paying tuition. Career Centers likes Grand Valley’s offer a wide range of tools and services that can assist you in your internship hunt.
For example: career counseling, resume and cover letter assistance, and so much more!
Check out Grand Valley State Universities to give you an idea on what your school could offer: http://www.gvsu.edu/careers/
How can you even begin applying for internships if you don’t know what you’re looking for? Spend time (try longer than 30 minutes) online looking at companies or organizations that you would be interested working for.
In Addition, the web has some great sites specifically for people looking for internships:
* You can even find an internship through LinkedIn- https://www.linkedin.com/studentjobsIn
5. Ask Around
Ever hear someone say,“ You won’t know unless you ask”?- That saying goes for finding internships and employment as well. You have to advertise to your friends and family, teachers, mentors, etc- that you are looking for work and want to get experience. You will be amazed to find that the job you want, someone you know may know someone who could get your foot in the door.
6. My Personal Advice- Put Yourself Out There
Last year as a freshman, I had no experience whatsoever in PR or Advertising. My only jobs had been in childcare. However, I was determined to get experience in the field and was willing to work unpaid. Desperate for experience, I went to Grand Valley’s career center for help on my resume. I set up interviews both on campus and near my hometown for PR/Communications related internships. After applying and interviewing at three different places and being told, “contact us when you have more experience”, I became frustrated. Instead of giving up, I continued with my search and vocalized to my friends and family that I was looking to intern this summer. Finally I was referred to by a family member to the President of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan for a PR internship. After he had viewed my writing from my online blog, he thought I’d be perfect to write blogs for the association and upcoming events that they were having. I got the job and was even paid. So in short-don’t be afraid to ask for what it is that you want and vocalize it. Also understand that rejection is a part of life; so don’t give up if you get turned down after that first interview.
Good luck on the hunt!
The Different Ways to Find an Internship: A Story; by Lauren Campbell
I thought sharing my personal experience with internships would encourage you in this tedious process.
In the fall of 2013, I switched to Public Relations from Sports Management. Going into my sophomore year of college, I thought I was going to work in sports somehow. This was based on my previous major of Exercise Science….which is now hilarious. But anyway, I was taking a Sports Management class and asked my professor how I could get involved. She told me about a new conference, I met with the creator, and he asked me my social experience. I said none, but I liked Twitter. He gave me a shot and I was in charge of the conference’s Twitter and Facebook along with a student at Aquinas. Great experience, and I met the CEO of a company who runs athletes, authors, and public figure’s social media accounts. She offered me an internship and I accepted. Again, great experience.
How I got those two internships: talking to a professor and networking
After awhile, I was ready for something new. One of my favorite blogs, That Working Girl, was looking for social media interns for the summer. Throughout the year I had been interacting with the founder, Lindsay Shoemake and TWG. They recognized me and after a few phone interviews, I managed the Facebook and Pinterest for TWG for three months. I also realized that I wanted to be paid and fill up more of my time in the summer. I applied for countless jobs, internships, and volunteer hours. I got denied, didn’t hear from people, and got really discouraged. One day I decided to go to Biggby for a couple hours and strictly job search. Indeed, Monster, LakerJobs, etc. A new “social ambassador” position at Meijer came up and it interested me. The position information was relatively vague, but it was paid and sounded like fun. I was contacted for a phone interview and found out that over 100 people had applied. My thoughts were “so that was fun, what’s next to apply to.” I was lucky enough to land the job after three phone interviews and two in person videos (yeah, it seemed like a lot to me too. Worth it.)
How I got those: the internet and research.
My latest experience is for the Office of Student Life. In Dr. Penning’s CAP 220 class in the Fall of 2014, “Hey There, Laker” was our client which was a part of OSL. We were asked to make a campaign and present to the client at the end of the semester. I decided to focus on the video team’s lack of online presence and social media savvy. After my presentation, the head of OSL emailed me and asked if I was interested in being their new social media manager. After one interview, I was offered the job.
That one: working hard in school.
The main point I want to stress in my internship story is the fact that experiences can come from anywhere.
The majority of these experiences were NOT paid. Welcome to internships. I’m networking like crazy this semester to get a paid one this summer, but it is not easy. The experiences though are totally worth it.