By Kate Templeton
It’s that time of the year! The academic calendar ends in just three months, so it’s time to find a summer internship. Finding the “perfect” internship can be stressful for many students. I personally have spent weeks perfecting my resume, writing cover letters and filling out applications. It can be discouraging at times, but once you secure an internship the stress will all be worth it. Here are some tips and tricks to help make the internship finding process a little smoother.
Securing a summer internship can sometimes be very competitive. Companies have already begun posting their internships online, so start looking right away! Especially with spring break right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start applying. In order to stay organized try creating a spreadsheet to list the internships you want to apply for with their due dates and what’s required for each application. This way you will be on top of all things internship and have the motivation to continue applying.
When figuring out what to apply for, try to think of a few fields or areas of focus you want to pursue after graduation. This will help you narrow down internships. I recommend putting extra effort into applications in the fields you are particularly interested in. However, due to internships being so competitive, you should still apply to a variety. Make sure to not immediately discredit ones you do not necessarily see yourself in. Any experience is good experience, and you might learn to love an area of focus you didn’t even know existed. Try to gauge between internships that are “reach” one's versus ones that are more “safe.” Pay closer attention to internships that match your career interests, but still apply for others so that you are setting yourself up for the most success.
Use Your Network
Many students are able to secure internships through their own personal network. Always reach out to family, friends and professionals that you are in contact with and see if they know of any internship opportunities or anyone working in communications. Even if you don’t get an internship right away, making these professional connections is a huge benefit. Use these connections to set up informational interviews, job shadows or just for some professional advice. Networking is a smart way to get your foot in the door at a company and possibly access to internships that aren’t publicly advertised.
PRSSA’s Internships and Jobs Section
If you are a dues-paying member of PRSSA, you have an entire internship database at your fingertips. The PRSSA Internship Center lets you browse their wide selection of internships that are available for students. You are able to filter through internships by employer, location, start date or keywords. It’s a great resource for all PR students! Here is the link to search for different internships: http://prssa.prsa.org/internships-jobs/
Securing an internship in a brand new big city seems like an impressive feat and the ultimate goal. But remember to pay attention to the details and what it actually entails. Many internships are unpaid, or pay very little which is why it is crucial to be sensible. Finding a place to stay that is affordable for the summer and being able to support yourself should be the most important factor. Definitely still apply to your dream internship, but also remain realistic when it comes to figuring out logistics.
Remember to be proactive when searching for an internship. You're going to focus a lot of time and effort to research positions, properly network and personalize cover letters and resumes for particular jobs. This is time consuming and sometimes extremely frustrating, and you’ll most likely face rejection along the way. Nonetheless, it is essential to stay positive and keep trying! With persistence you will hopefully be able to secure a valuable internship and gain real world experience this summer.