An important part of gaining field experience and meeting potential employers, interning can be an overwhelming topic for those who are unsure about what it exactly is and how they go about getting one. According to Webster’s dictionary, an internship is “an advanced student or graduate in a professional field gaining supervised practical experience.” Being an intern is like working with a mentor, where someone with knowledge in public relations or communications can fill you in on what they know and guide you to become better informed and prepared for the future.
No matter what kind of career you are going into, it is important to do some sort of internship beforehand in order to understand the kind of environment you are entering. A surgeon does not start operating on a patient the day they graduate from med school; they work as an intern or resident so they are fully prepared for their work. The same goes for public relations professionals. Depending on what kind of company you are working for, there are different skills and knowledge that are required for the particular job. On the blog “Entry Level Rebel,” Jessica Stillman offers six tips for getting the most out of an internship.
- Consider applying at a start-up– While most people think you have to intern at a company that has been around for years and is well-established, working for a new company can give you more opportunities to perform big tasks and make a difference.
- D0 your homework– Make sure you do your research on the company you want to intern with. It will show them you care about what you are doing and you have a strong interest. This will only strengthen your chances of getting an internship and possibly a position with them in the future.
- Be the go-to person at all times– Although you may be confused and unsure about the tasks you are handed at first, don’t be afraid to do your research online and talk to others about what you are supposed to do. Be the person that people know they can depend on to get work done.
- Be innovative- think before you ask– Instead of assuming you do not know the answer to a potential problem or issue, look deeper into the question and you could be surprised that you have a great solution. Use the resources you are given for help.
- Think like the CEO– Is the work you are doing making the company better? This should be the main objective of every task you perform. Go out of your way to do things you are not asked or required to do; it will make you look sufficient and hard-working.
- Take notes and always have to-do list– When you are in a meeting with a boss or just receiving tips from an employee, jot down information so that you always have it to refer to. Use your notes to decide what you can do to perform your best work.
Sometimes businesses do not have a lot of work to give interns because they are unsure about the kind of skills that interns possess. Brigid Wolf, who attends the University of Akron in Ohio, said she was able to perform more work for the company she interned with after she told them she was fluent with Excel and PowerPoint. “After I told them I was good at working with those programs, the employer was able to give me important projects to complete.”
Jeff Carter, a senior public relations major at Georgia Southern, enjoyed the networking aspect of his internship he completed last year. “It was a great opportunity to make numerous connections with local business owners,” he said. According to the blog, “Career Advancement- Tips to Maximize an Internship Into Career Success,” it is crucial to stay in connection with the people you work with. By letting the employer you worked under know what you are currently doing, this will “…keep your name in front of the employer.” You never know when you will need someone’s advice or help to get you where you want to be.
The most important aspect of choosing an internship is making sure it appeals to you! Tory Johnson, CEO of “Women for Hire,” gives this pointer in the blog “Top Tips for Picking an Internship.” Pick something that you feel will give you the kind of experience and work you are looking for to give you the skills you need for your dream job!
Information used in this blog can be found at the following websites: