3 PR Skills Every Intern Needs

3 PR Skills Every Intern Needs

The skills you learn as an intern are integral in landing your first job out of college. Simply having internship experience on your resume, doesn’t mean jobs will be lining up to hire you. It’s important to find an internship that will provide you with real responsibilities, and quality industry experience. These are the skills I found most important when transitioning into my role at an agency.

1. Writing

If I had to choose one skill I thought was most important to learn at an internship, it would be writing. Not to state the obvious, but writing is such a valuable skill. Whether it’s writing blogs, feature stories, professional bios, or press releases, good writing is the essence of public relations.

It’s not enough to say you’re a good writer. You need to show that you’re a great writer. Make sure you have a writing portfolio stocked with a variety of writing samples. Another great way to showcase your writing is by having a blog. Potential employers will be  very impressed when you mention that you maintain a blog, trust me. The keyword here is maintainDon’t start a blog if you aren’t going to update it!

2. Pitching

Pitching to media outlets is not only a skill, it’s an art. Creating unique and thoughtfully crafted pitches for journalists is integral to a successful career in media relations. Know who you are pitching to. Learning your journalist’s beat is the very first step toward building a relationship. The last thing you want to do is offend a journalist by wasting their time with irrelevant stories.

I take that back- the LAST thing you want to do, is send a generic pitch in a mass email to a list of journalists. There’s no quicker way to get blacklisted then making this your pitching strategy.

3. Social Media Content Creation

In order to create meaningful and relevant social media content, you have to know your audience. It’s important to understand who is your demographic on each social platform. This will help you to develop content that will resonate with your followers.

Social media content should be a combination of planned and timely trending content. Monitoring daily trends in the social sphere and creating content for trending topics is a great opportunity to engage with users.

Key Takeaways

The quality of your internship is ultimately your responsibility. Choose one that is a right fit for your career goals. Use your time as an intern to learn your strengths and weaknesses. If you feel that you need more practice writing, ask your supervisor for more writing assignments. At the end of the day, what skills you learn at your internship impact you, not your employer.

Connect with me on Twitter and tell me how you made the most of your internship, or what you wish you would have learned. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Preparing for Life After College

Preparing for Life After College

The last thing you want is to find yourself fresh out of school asking “what now?” I hear far too many stories of people finishing their degrees only to find themselves stuck in the same position. Do not let this happen to you! 

These are some things that have helped me transition from my job in retail during school to landing my first entry level public relations job.

Momentum

You just finished your degree after years of seemingly endless assignments, exams, and group projects. You may feel like you deserve a break at this point, but don’t take one! Use this accomplishment as momentum to propel yourself into your career.

I strongly recommend applying for jobs before you graduate. There’s no sense in waiting until your diploma comes in the mail to start looking. I started applying for positions at the start of my final semester. Looking for jobs early gives you a better sense of what positions are available and which ones you are qualified for.

Beefing Up Your Resume

Your resume is your first impression on potential employers. It is your chance to stand out among other candidates. You want your resume to be like a movie trailer. You want to pique the reader’s interest with out telling the whole story. In this case, you want to tell enough about yourself so they will want to bring you in for an interview.

Your resume should be a living document, not a static one. You should be consistently updating and altering it to target different positions you are applying for. When looking at a job description, be sure to list some of the skills that the position requires (assuming you have them). Sell your previous work experience to relate directly to the position you are applying for. For example, if you have retail experience, focus on elements such as: working with in a team, time management, completing projects on a deadline, customer relations, etc. This will show employers that you have valuable skills, rather than showing them you know how to work a cash register.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain some great experience, make connections, and beef up your resume. There are an endless number of nonprofit organizations who are in great need of help. Find an organization with a mission that you are passionate about and reach out to them. It’s really that simple.

Also, if your experience section is looking a little light, don’t be afraid to put team projects or meaningful coursework you did in some of your classes. I have been asked about class work in several of my interviews. Employers want to know how you work with a team and produce work on a deadline.

What are some things you are doing (or did) to prepare yourself for life after college?

4 Tips To Nail Your Internship Interview

4 Tips To Nail Your Internship Interview

Landing your first internship role in public relations is a rite of passage. It’s a chance for you to learn the industry, and gain some great experience that will help you land that first real job. I will admit, finding a good internship can be a daunting task. I must have applied for dozens of positions before getting my role at the library. Many of which I was brought in for face-to-face interviews. I was baffled at the amount of internships I wasn’t qualified for because I had no experience. No experience? No kidding! Why do you think I’m looking for an internship?! I digress. 

Let’s get to the list, shall we.

1. Research the company you are applying for

This is so important that I made it number one on this list! You have to know the company you are applying for.

What is the company culture? Has the company won any awards? Has there been recent press coverage about a product or service they offer? What social media platforms are they on? Who are their competitors?

These are all questions you should know the answer to before you ever step foot into an interview. I can say personally that this step set me apart from other candidates who interviewed for my role.

Coming into an interview and commenting on the organization’s social media content, or on a recent press story demonstrates to your interviewer that you have done your homework. This will impress them, I promise.

2. Share a story

Come into your interview with stories to share with your interviewer. You need to be able to draw on your experiences and tell a story. After all, this is a public relations role, where you will be helping tell the story of your organization. Have some examples of class projects, or previous work experiences that you can relate to aspects of the job description.

You also need to be prepared to share stories about a time where things did not go so well. Make sure you have some examples of teachable moments you have experienced. Interviewers know that people make mistakes. It’s not a trap-they want see how you feedback and to measure how coach-able you are.

The goal is to have the interview feel more like a conversation than a stiff, formal Q and A. Having stories to share will demonstrate your passion, character, and experience, while demonstrating your interpersonal communication skills.

3. Be yourself

When I asked my mentor, what is the most important thing I could do to set myself apart from other candidates in an interview, he told me to be myself. I know it sounds like cliche, but seriously, he was right. No one can be you but you (another cliche – someone stop me, please). Let your personality come through during the interview.

Recruiters want to hire candidates who are a culture fit for their organization. They want people who they don’t mind spending 32-40 hours per week with. So if you are coming across as fake or insincere, it could really hurt your chances of getting hired.

4. Follow up

Always, ALWAYS follow up with your interviewer within 24 hours of your interview. A simple email thanking them for their time and consideration can be the deciding factor between you and another candidate.

I also like to use this opportunity to say why I think I would be a good candidate for the role. I try to take a few things from the posted job description and talk about how my experience / skills match them. I also like to attach a letter of recommendation to this email and offer any additional writing samples.

This is your last chance to set yourself apart from your competition, so make it good!

 

Also, don’t be afraid to practice answering questions in the mirror, or in front of your dog or on video. Being able to watch yourself answer potential questions give you a good understanding of what your interviewer will be looking at!

What are some interviewing tips that have worked for you? I’d love to hear them!

Good luck and happy interviewing!

An Introduction

Hello!

My name is Stephen. I am a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University where I majored in Public Relations. I am creating this blog to share my experiences as a young professional entering the field. Before I jump right into that, let me tell you a little bit about me.

I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan called Hazel Park with my girlfriend Nichole, and my dog, Rambo. I’m totally one of those typical dog dads with 1,000 pictures my dog in my phone – don’t judge me! I mean, can you blame me? Look at that face!ramboooooooo

Nichole and I love to travel. We have a small-museum sized collection of oddities, antiques, taxidermy, and wet specimens which are proudly displayed in our living room.

My interests and passions in public relations are rooted in social media and media relations. I think social media is such an exciting and dynamic tool. The culture and trends in social media are changing everyday. I love the challenge of trying to figure it all out.

My current role is a public relations intern at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library. This position has been a wonderful experience. One of the most valuable things I have gotten from this job was the opportunity to evaluate myself to identify my strengths and weaknesses.  I feel it is important to never be complacent. Never accept mediocrity. Do not be afraid of failure. You have to be willing to push yourself. That is the only way to improve in life.

I want this blog to act as a resource for other young professionals, students, and recent graduates. I believe my experiences thus far (and those to come) could help others looking to enter the field. If nothing more, maybe you can learn what not to do from my experiences.