It’s hard to believe that summer is halfway through. If you have a summer internship, you’ve probably finally gotten in sync with a work routine. Whether you’re a sophomore or a senior, internship experience is crucial. Here are five tips to help get the most out of your summer internship.
Get to know the company.
When you interviewed, you probably had looked up some background information on the company. Once you’re hired, you should know it like the back of your hand. I’ve found our Brand Planning Document to be the bible. If I’m writing a message, no matter how short or long, I refer to the brand guide to make sure I’m using the voice of the company. Plus, it will be impressive when you blurt out a company fact, especially if you’re looking to work for them post-graduation.
Don’t get bored waiting for work to come to you – seek it out. Do a S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis on the company’s social media, and pitch your recommendations to your supervisor. Is there an event coming up for which you would like to write a press release? Prepare an outline to show your boss and ask if you can write it. Find a project that best represents your public relations skills and make the company shine. Now is the time to build up your portfolio!
Think outside of the box.
As I was attempting to write my first ad, the head of the marketing department looked at a few of my drafts and gave me some of the most strange but helpful advice I’ve received at my internship. He said, “Forget everything they taught you about journalism when you write these. In fact, if they taught it to you in journalism school, break it or do it differently. No rules.” Yes, what you learned in school is important and AP style is a huge part of the industry, but remember, you represent your company, and you need to be able to write and send a message that portrays the company’s style. Plus, it can be fun to forget the rules for a little bit.
Now is not the time to be timid. Being proactive goes a long way. Ask for projects to work on and ask questions when you have them. Internships are learning experiences so questions are absolutely accepted.
Accept constructive criticism.
Internships are the gateway to jobs in the public relations industry. Each one should grow your real-world career skills. So if the company doesn’t use your press release or if your ad looks like it was colored red by a kindergartner, accept it, learn from it and move on. You should be growing and improving your skills at your internship. Plus, I would rather be corrected as an intern than as a full-time employee.
What are you doing to get the most of your internship?
By Ali Seys
Whether you are majoring in public relations or physics, internships are your best friend. It does not matter whether your internship is on or off-campus, it is the experience that counts. Many college programs insist that their students have at least one internship while in their undergrad career. Have you already completed this requirement? Take advantage of having another internship while you can because there is no such thing as too much experience.
If you have nothing to do this summer or you are just about to graduate, here are seven reasons why you should get an internship this summer.
1. Gain experience (while earning credit)
The main reason to hold an internship is to gain experiences you can’t find in the classroom. On a plus side, not only does the School of Communication want their students to gain the knowledge and experience they need before they enter the real world, but they also give us the opportunity to gain credit for our internships. And if you attended Jason Mollica’s presentation about personal branding, then you know that internships definitely help your brand expand and grow. Get that experience!
2. Build Your Resume
While you are gaining experiences during your internship, you are also building your resume. Everything that you do that applies to your major and allows you to gain experience and learn new skills is resume-worthy.
Not only do you get the opportunity to gain experience, but you also get to connect with others in the work force and build connections with them. These days, it is all about who you know.
4. Decide whether you’re in the right field
Is this really the right field for you? Have you ever looked at an outfit or a pair of shoes and just know they would fit you right off the bat. No, right? You walked over to the fitting room or grabbed the right size shoe and tried it on for size. If it doesn’t fit, then you move on to another size or a different outfit. Internships work the same way. Internships allow you to gain real world experience and allow you to take the time to decide whether or not the industry you are interning in is right for you.
5. Kinesthetic learning at its finest.
Kinesthetic learning, or hands-on, is a great benefit to having an internship. Many students can learn much more outside of the classroom about the major they love and the career they want to pursue. It is a great way to obtain new skills and also to learn how things should be done in the work environment. Plus, you get to apply this learning at other experiences or even your dream job!
6) Put all your effort into you internship
Having an internship at any time of the year is great but one of the pluses of having an internship during the summer is that you can put all your focus on your internship and not having to worry about additional school work that you would have if you had an internship during the school year.
7. Being able to walk out of an interview and say, “Nailed it!”
With the knowledge you gained from your summer internship, you are two steps ahead of the other guy who decided to sleep at the beach all day. He may have had a relaxing summer, but you are more likely to land a position than he will because you gained knowledge and new experiences while having a beneficial internship this summer.
By Analita Voss
by Abby Brennan
This summer, Illinois State University PRSSA members kept busy interning for a variety of organizations.
Melissa Fortes spent her summer at WGN-TV in Chicago as a marketing and promotions intern in the Creative Services department. As an intern, she implemented station promotions and events from beginning to end, which could include generating rules, creating entry forms, writing copy for news talent, working with clients and sponsors and anything in between! Some of Melissa’s other duties included clipping news segments for station and client usage, drafting press releases, writing text alerts and preparing for the Back-to-School Kids Fair. Melissa had the opportunity to work directly with Tom Skilling, Robin Baumgarten, Pat Tomasulo and Dean Richards. She met comedian and actor Arsenio Hall and baseball hall of famer Cal Ripkin, Jr. Her favorite memory, however, is the Backstreet Boys and Jesse McCartney in-studio performance, which Melissa called the “BEST. DAY. EVER.”
Phil Kawabata was a full-time intern at COUNTRY Financial, where he has been working since January. During his internship, he has participated in a community outreach day, served on a college panel for high school interns, participated in a company-wide case study and worked with the campaign lead on a marketing campaign. Phil called the campaign “the highlight of his entire internship” and is looking forward to its launch before he graduates in December.
Maggie McLinden was a full-time intern at State Farm this summer in the Sales Communications department. While there, she worked on three different projects with two different departments.
Sarah McSheffrey worked at Clearbrook, a non-profit organization in Arlington Heights, Ill., that specializes in creating opportunities for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sarah worked for the Marketing and Development team and helped to plan three gold outings, a fundraising dinner, a fun fest and Clearbrook’s first 5k Colorblast run.
Cassidy Obis had not one, but two internships this summer, at both the Normal CornBelters baseball team and Special Olympics Illinois. She was a Community, Public and Media Relations intern for the Corn Belters, where she processed donation requests, escorted the mascot, and edited the media list. As a Communications Intern for Special Olympics Illinois, Cassidy wrote four feature stories that were published both online and in the monthly newsletter and assisted Director of Communications & Publications Michele Henson.
Shelby Ray spent her summer interning for Great Plains Media, which manages the radio stations 107.7 The Bull, Cities 92.9 and 99.5 The Ticket. She worked in the promotions and marketing department. As an intern, Shelby was able to hone her Photoshop and graphic design skills by creating posters, flyers, signs, scrapbooks and more, as well as working on some of the company’s social networks. When not at the office, Shelby worked events such as the Darius Rucker, Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer concert at the Corn Crib in Normal, where she dressed as the bull mascot and got onstage with the DJs to announce the show. Shelby recommends everyone consider an internship like this “for the unique aspect of PR and because it’s going to be a really fun experience.”
Cody Walker interned at React Presents, an entertainment company specializing in music festivals. As an intern, Cody not only conducted media research and wrote press releases and blog posts, but was able to work the Summer Set festival … with a backstage, all-access pass to boot. He will also be working at the upcoming North Coast music festival. He’ll continue to help the company remotely over the school year and return next summer, too.
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.