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.
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 maintain. Don’t start a blog if you aren’t going to update it!
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.
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!