How to land a PR internship: 6 tips that will facilitate the process
With college graduation creeping up, many PR students are on the hunt to gain experience before entering the workforce. One of the best ways to gain relevant experience and skills is by interning at a company or agency. While it may sound easy to land at first, internships are competitive and the process can be challenging to navigate. To find out more about the best ways to land a PR internship, I reached out to the founder and the account executive of Ali Fee PR. These interviewees shared six best practices to follow when you begin to apply for PR internships.
1. Become a member of professional associations
Ali, the founder of Ali Fee PR, advised that students join programs in college such as PRSSA before applying for internships. This is a great way to gain experience and build up your resume while making yourself a competitive applicant. Joining a professional association is always a great way to network with other students in the field.
2. Build a strong resume
When applying to internships, it is crucial that your resume accurately reflects you and your experience. “It’s important to articulate what you've done in the best way possible. If it’s only a couple of bullets and not that long or well thought out it can be a bit of a turn-off,” said Ali. “It’s always good to have a portfolio or website with your work to include on your resume. Quantifying what you've done and showing results is also important. For example, I helped the business grow by x%.” Listing measurable goals is a great way to show future potential employers the amount of change that you've made for an organization or project.
3. Make and maintain connections
One of the best ways to land your first internship is through your personal network. “Working in PR connections are really big” said Shannon Baker, account executive at Ali Fee PR. “Keeping those connections and staying in contact with people you know by adding them on LinkedIn or checking in once and a while really helps. Down the line when you're looking for a job they might have an opportunity and because you're connected and come to mind or they are able to connect you to someone else.”
4. Gain writing skills
Reading and writing frequently are great ways to improve your PR skillset. “A lot of PR is writing” said Shannon Baker. “Always working on your writing skills is only going to help you.” The better you are at writing, the easier things will get. Writing professionally or for fun are both great ways to practice. You can always keep improving, Baker added.
5. You don't have to say yes to your first offer
While you might be tempted to accept the first offer you get, don’t sell yourself short and listen to your intuition. “It really does work out the way it’s supposed to,” said Ali Fee. “I was very confused in college, as most people are. I interviewed at a magazine company for an internship and they offered it to me but I told them I was still in the middle of interviewing at other places. I asked if I could get back to them. The hiring manager wrote me a rude email and revoked my offer. I was so devastated. Looking back at it now, that was so unprofessional of the hiring manager.” Ali went on to intern elsewhere and now owns Ali Fee PR. The moral of the story is to do what feels right to you. You don’t have to accept your first offer if it doesn't feel like it's the right fit for you.
6. Take accountability for your mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes, and they are bound to happen during your internship journey. “Mistakes are always going to happen,” said Ali. “That’s okay. We’re all humans, not robots. Always take accountability for your mistakes.” This shows that you are honest and ready to fix your error. People will value integrity over lies.
By Victoria Finn
Victoria Finn is a senior at San Diego State University studying public relations. She was born and raised in Carlsbad, CA. Victoria is a digital marketing intern at Comrad.