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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Are you Internship-less?

“Do you have an internship yet?”… “You won’t get a job without an internship first”… “What previous experience do you have in this industry?”… “Get an internship!”
I’ve heard it a million and one times: Internships are absolutely necessary if you want a career in public relations and related fields. So why do these internships seem so hard to get?

It’s all about experience. Without experience, you have nothing new to contribute to a company. So this is where I always ask: How do I get the experience? Does anyone have a really good answer to that? Well, there’s definitely an answer.

There are certainly ways to get the experience, but I know now that it takes a lot more motivation and a willingness to challenge yourself than I once thought. Over the past six months I have come to realize that what people tell me about getting involved with public relations projects is not just jabber, it is real advice to be taken seriously…or else.

Eventually, we all need to come to the realization that a glamorous, paid internship in public relations, or any field for that matter, is not going to fall into your lap on Sunday night while you are posting pictures from the weekend on Facebook. Sorry everybody!

If you really want your application to stand out, if you really want to nail an interview for that internship you have always wanted, then it’s time to start opening yourself up to the many opportunities that surround you. All sorts of businesses around the Twin Cities and elsewhere are in need of people to help promote them.

The best advice that I can give is to seek them out. Much of the time these opportunities will even present themselves to you (so keep your eyes and ears open!). Offer yourself up as a volunteer, or unpaid intern, to gain valuable experience in your desired field. You may think that you don’t have enough time throughout these short weeks to commit to an unpaid position…you probably don’t. But do it anyway!

Make yourself stand out. Challenge yourself to try new things, work with new people, and learn what the industry is all about. Commit to the work you are doing, chances are that the results will show. You will become a better candidate for all sorts of paid internship positions and jobs, and as a small plus you can feel good about helping out. It won’t be long before you will have a resume full of relevant skills are experiences that any company would be happy to foster. It’s the least you can do.

You can contact Emily at homut011@umn.edu. You can also connect with her via Twitter or LinkedIn.