By Serena Whitecotton, Program Chair
When I was in college, everyone dreamed of working for a large corporation or agency, but those companies don’t have spots for every PR major. What do you do when you get your back-up internship? After the initial disappointment, get excited! New opportunities await you. We have a few tips to make the most out of your “Plan B” internship.
Experience, experience, experience
Working for a large corporation can be fun, but internships at smaller agencies or companies can actually work to your advantage – you’ll get more experience! You’ll still create media lists and compile media coverage, but you’ll also get the opportunity to be more hands-on and proactive (which is the reason why you’re interning in the first place). With a smaller staff, you’ll do more than coffee runs or photocopies; you’ll actually learn.
Less people, more connections
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but networking is key in the PR industry. At larger companies, you may only work with an assistant or coordinator and never meet the bigwigs. Smaller companies give you unparalleled access to the executives or vice presidents and their knowledge. Ask an executive or vice president in your favorite field to lunch; you’d be surprised by how eager they’ll be to give advice. When you’re looking for a reference or letter of recommendation, these folks should be your first stop.
We all have internships for different reasons – some of us wanted work experience, and some of us needed more units to graduate. Whatever your reason, you should have one final goal: Get a full-time job. Smaller companies can get you that job, especially after a successful internship. In my smaller agency, four of my coworkers were previously interns. If you keep in touch, you have a better chance of getting that coveted first job.
I always think of internships as a perfect way to test the field you’re studying, especially if you’re unsure. I had internships in three different fields and stuck with the one I loved best: public relations.
And if you’re still on the fence about getting an internship, this infographic may convince you otherwise.
Where have you interned at?