You may or may not know (but I’m going to go with ‘know’ as I rarely stop talking about them) that I have completed a few PR Internships over the summer and have a few more on the way. They truly have been invaluable to me, and I would recommend to anybody studying PR that hasn’t opted for a placement year to go for it. Not only does it look great on your CV, but also gives you some hands on practical experience with the industry and gives you a taster of your future.
Doing it independently, I completed an unbeknownst amount of applications and e-mailed countless companies seeking placements, never hearing back from 90% of them and getting rejected by a fair few more. Although demoralizing, I stayed determined and ending up finding a fair few internships. Subsequently, I wanted to share with you some tips I would recommend to get you on your way to securing some internships as I did, and hopefully they will be as beneficial to you as they have been to me.
1. Update your CV
And include anything you deem relevant. This usually works best at the top of the page as it is attention grabbing. In my CV I have a small table of applicable skills just under my personal details. I gained a lot more interest as a prospective intern after updating my CV as such, so would recommend you do something similar. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of relevant experiences, everybody starts somewhere and remember this is going to be primarily the reason you’re seeking placement in the first place; organisations will understand this. Just include anything relevant such as projects, blogging and the kinds of activities you undertake at Uni or College.
2. Take advantage of LinkedIn
I had a strike of pure luck on LinkedIn. I made one simple post asking for work experience in and around Liverpool, and due to having a fair few connections it got shared around by loads of people and generated a hefty amount of views. Subsequently, I was offered a number of varying placements and experiences. From this, I accepted 2: a paid one in Manchester and an unpaid weeks experience in Liverpool. I also now am a freelance writer for the platform ‘Global Seven News’ all thanks to LinkedIn! I would recommend spending some time on your profile, throwing in anything relevant and making yourself really attractive to organisations, and then growing your networking by connecting with anyone you deem fit! For me, the more connections the better and having a big network has certainly been beneficial to me!
3. Keep going!
And don’t be put off with lack-of-pay; it is very rare to find an organisation that will pay you for an internship as they will be taking time out of their work to teach you things. Although you help out a great deal you must also remember you are only there for a short amount of time, and the experience itself holds a lot more in long-term value than a bit of extra cash. Also, don’t be put off by the process, you won’t hear back from a lot of companies. Similarly to applying for jobs, it’s pretty much a given. Persevere, you will get there eventually and the benefits when you do are much more rewarding than you could imagine.
4. Know where you’re applying
Only contact relevant companies and those you can travel to, don’t waste your time throwing your details about anywhere and everywhere; be sophisticated with your internship searches and you will often find you pick the better, more established organisations that can offer you a higher quality of experience. Although making sure you apply for the right kind of places, also remember to vary your searches and don’t constrict yourself. Internships, if done right, can be a valuable tool which allow you to get working practices in various different types of organisations within your industry. With your newfound knowledge, you can then chose the type of organisation that is right for you, and work towards it accordingly.
5. Be open with what you can offer
The more flexible you are, the better. If in your initial E-Mails to organisations you state that you can be available for full 1/2/3 week placements OR can work one day a week for a longer time frame, then organisations will be more inclined to work around you. It’s common knowledge that flexibility makes you more employable, the same applies in the case of internships – the more you can offer the better (but remember in terms of unpaid work, do not get taken advantage of!)
6. Stay in touch!
If you are lucky enough to secure a placement, make sure you stay in touch with a relevant contact within the organisation as this keeps you fresh in their mind and sparks their interest. It will probably make things less daunting for you on your first day too if you know at least one person there. I always like to stay in touch afterwards too and send a little thank you card as I am always grateful for the experience. Not only this, but staying in touch with organisations could make you a more considerable candidate if they are hiring post-grads when you’re ready to enter the world of work!
If you’re applying for internships, I hope that this has helped somewhat and please feel free to message me for any further advice – I’m always happy to help!
Best of luck!