MMI Watercooler Newsletter
Going From PR Intern To Expert – How Do You Do It?
by Kathleen Donnelly on 08/01/2012
Does turning a dream public relations internship into a fantastic PR job sound too good to be true? Yeah, I thought so too. These days it feels like landing an internship, let alone a job, is equivalent to landing on the moon.
The 2012 June unemployment rate is a bit lower than the 2011 rate (only 0.9 percent lower, to be exact) at 8.2 percent. Although this is not too high, it seems like a large portion of recent college graduates are unemployed.
According to an article from The Huffington Post, one in two college graduates are jobless or underemployed. The nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute called the labor market “grim” and stated that unemployment among college graduates younger than 25 years old stands at 9.4 percent, with an additional 19.1 percent working in jobs for which they were overqualified. I do not know about you, but as a 2012 graduate, I find these statistics a bit frightening.
But fear not, jobseekers, for I am here to tell you that with a lot of networking, research (and a little bit of luck), finding the right job for you actually can be achieved.
The Main Step: Maximize Your Internship
As a strategic communications major at Elon University, I knew from the first day of classes that I wanted to work in public relations. When it was time to search for an internship my junior year, I frantically sent out resumes and cover letters for PR positions throughout North Carolina.
When I first heard about MMI Public Relations from the internship counselors at Elon, I immediately fell in love with the company’s culture. I was put in touch with an Elon graduate at MMI, and a great internship followed!
As a college student, you often hear internship “horror stories” of endless paperwork filing, number crunching, envelope licking (no, I am not kidding) and coffee brewing. My experience could not have been more opposite.
As an MMI intern, I helped build press releases, blog content, social media content, attended a number of events, engaged with media and established wonderful relationships with professionals in the public relations industry. I even attended an event for the NC CEO Forum and had the opportunity to talk with Jim Collins, an author and inspiring speaker, about mountain biking in Colorado.
In the PR world, as with any other market, it is crucial to make the most out of an internship experience. If I had not done so, there is no way I would have had the opportunity to join MMI as a full-time employee. So rest assured, worried recent graduates, you can land your dream job if you remain dedicated!
Other Tips For Turning Internships Into Full-Time Positions:
- Use summer internships as more than a simple resume booster. Get your name out there, and use your internship experience as a gateway to a permanent job. It all starts with the bigger picture.
- Have a positive attitude. This seems like a no-brainer, but not to everyone. Your attitude speaks loud and clear, and in PR, great enthusiasm, eagerness to learn and passion is incredibly valued.
- Actually get to know your co-workers and co-interns. Learn the company’s culture and values and practice them. Watch closely to see how things are done, ask questions and pay attention to how people interact with one another.
- Always meet deadlines. Assume the responsibility to ask when an assignment is due in order to understand your co-workers’ priorities, and make sure you finish the project before time is up. This will be a key factor as you practice time management skills.
- Continue learning. Read anything– newspapers, blogs, magazines, articles, news releases, the list could go on and on. If you want to be successful in PR, you must constantly be up to date and “in the know.” Simply engaging with a co-worker about a recent news article could go a long way.
When it is all said and done, it comes down to investing in yourself, staying determined despite a tough market and putting your best foot forward. Follow these simple steps, and before you know it, you could be an expert with your own public relations intern.