How to land your first pr internship

By Michelle Favalora
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

It’s that time of year. Birds are chirping, spring has sprung and college upperclassmen are polishing up their resumes. It can be incredibly difficult to secure an internship, especially when you don’t already have other internship experience to give you a boost. But, there are ways to help your application stand out and get noticed. Here are a few tips and tricks to landing a PR internship:

Showcase Your Writing

PR professionals write. A lot.  If you want to work in PR, you need to be writing regularly. To take this a step further, make sure you provide your interview coordinator with samples of your work.  This can include:

  • Adding a link to your blog on your resume
  • Drafting up a sample article on a current event or trend, sending the piece with your resume
  • Publishing your own content on LinkedIn, including the links in your resume or cover letter

While most agencies don’t require you to submit writing samples with your resume, doing so will set you apart from the rest of the pack. Your goal is to prove to your interviewer that you are capable of writing at a high level.

Connect With a Human Being

When I was looking for internships and entry-level positions, I applied for quite a few jobs via the company’s online application system (or “black hole” as I liked to call it). These systems made it almost impossible to know if anyone from the company every looked at my application.
You should definitely follow the company’s rules for submitting applications, including submitting resumes online, but also look for ways to directly connect with the intern coordinator.

Do some research online to see if you can find an email address or phone number for the intern coordinator and reach out. More than likely, the coordinator will take a look at your resume after hearing from you.

Be Persistent

If you want to work in PR, you need to be persistent in order to connect with journalists and influencers. Think of your job search as your first PR “assignment,” but instead of journalists, you’re trying to connect with potential employers.

While you don’t want to overdo it, don’t be scared to follow up on your application after two weeks or request feedback when you don’t receive an offer. If done right, your tenacity for follow-up will prove that you’re committed to the company and have what it takes to work in PR.

Do Your Research

There’s nothing worse than going into a job interview and drawing a blank when asked a question.Make sure you research the company’s mission statement and website. If possible, do a quick search of your interviewers.

You can always tell when a candidate did their homework and prepared fully for their interview, which is appreciated.

Change Your Mindset

Rather than focus on what this potential job can do for you, it’s important to think about what you can do for the company. What unique skills or traits can you provide? What is the company going to lose if they pass you up? Be sure to share this information during your interview.

These tips can help you set yourself apart from the rest of the pack and get that PR internship. Good luck!

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