How Many Internship Should You Apply for?

By Sydney Gardner @sydneygardner

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Internship application season often features students huddled around laptops with too big of cups of coffee in their hands. Some students will start the search as early as possible; while others may wait to binge apply over winter break. But at what point are you supposed to stop? There’s is no magic number when it comes to applying for internships. However there are a few steps you can take to make your search a little more efficient.

Know what you want.

Before applying to a single internship, you need to figure out what it is you want from it. This goes beyond just picking a company you admire or think would be fun to work at. It’s really important to determine what it is you want, and need, to get from any internship for you to consider it a success at the end. You are going to want to consider: location, duration, job responsibilities, office culture, whether it’s paid or unpaid and industry. One of the hardest things I faced from my internship search was having to turn down offers because it just was not a realistic option for me. Never apply to internship that you have no intent on taking. Consider what internships you want, and what internships are a feasible for you. Apply to the internships that fall into both those categories.

Be organized.

Taking simple steps throughout your internship application process will set you up to be more successful towards the end. Creating an Excel sheet with all the internships you want to apply for is a great way to keep track of all your activity. My excel sheet featured the internship listing link, location, pay rate, date applied, what I sent with my application, date contacted by company, who I was contacted by and if I was/was not offered the internship. Not only is this a great way to keep track of all your hard work, but it’s a good visual for you to see how much work you’ve done, and still need to do. Nothing is worse than realizing you forgot to send in a writing sample or return a call from two weeks ago. It also can serve as great starting point when you go to apply for internships the next season/year.

Quality always beats quantity.

Does it matter that you applied to 30+ internships if everything you sent out was done poorly? Applying to a large amount of internships is great, but only if you are putting in the same time and effort into the last cover letter that you put into the first one. If you’re at the point where you are considering using a generic cover letter, then it’s probably time to stop. You only get one first impression with companies so you want to make sure it’s the best one to you have. Working hard is awesome, accidently sending the wrong cover letter because your exhausted is not.

I know the title of this promised a number so I’ll give you one: 14. That’s how many internships I applied to for the summer 2014 season. When I look back I think 14 was a little much, but it was the number I felt comfortable with. You may, and should, have your own number. It might be more and it might be less, but as long as it’s what you’re comfortable with, it’s a good number. The most important part of applying for internships is being true to you. In your resume, in your cover letters, in your interviews. Do what you are comfortable with and the rest will fall into place.

Interning Abroad: The Brand of Milk and Honey

By: Allison Rumsas @allisonrumsas

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I have spent the last five weeks of my summer in Israel interning at a PR and branding firm, BOMAH- The Brand of Milk and Honey, in Jerusalem. In Israel, internships aren’t very common and after meeting with my boss the first day, I quickly realized that my internship would be much different than the previous internship I had in Chicago.

I work directly with the Founder and Assistant Director of the firm and am given a huge amount of freedom and responsibility with the work that I do. I created my own title and job description the first day and rarely have to get approval before posting content on their social media accounts, sending pitch letters, or creating proposals and campaign ideas.

To say the least, this was a bit of a culture shock at the beginning.

Now that I’m close to finishing my fifth week interning, I can appreciate the benefits that come with interning in a foreign country and how much I have grown professionally from doing so. In my opinion, here are the three major benefits of interning abroad:

Disclaimer: There are many, many more benefits that can come from interning abroad, just ask anyone that’s traveled or worked in a foreign country, but for the sake of not making this post 12 pages long, I picked the three big ones!

IMMERSING YOURSELF IN THE CULTURE- When traveling to a foreign country it’s easy to feel like a tourist no matter how hard you try to hide it. When interning and working in a foreign country you learn much more than you would when just visiting different sites or meeting people at restaurants. You learn about the society’s working culture, the daily life of citizens, and what it’s actually like to live in that country – not just the planned routes for tourists to see.

RESUME BUILDER- We’d all be lying if we didn’t say that an important part of receiving an internship is being able to put it on your resume. An internship abroad not only allows you to add a location outside of the U.S. to your resume, but it also allows you to add numerous different skills that aren’t limited to your professional experience. Having to communicate with coworkers whose first language may not be English and learning the norms of your dream job in a city outside of the U.S. not only adds to your professional experience, but showcases your character as well.

KNOWLEDGE AND GROWTH- As I previously said, internships aren’t common in Israel, and I’m sure they aren’t as common in most of the world as they are in the U.S. Because of this I’ve learned more than I could have possibly imagined. I’ve learned how to use a storytelling strategy on social media, lead workshops, and pitch articles and campaigns to various clients. However, I’ve also learned more practical skills. I can effectively communicate my ideas and suggestions to non-native English speakers, stand up for the ideas that I truly believe in, and gain new perspectives from my co-workers that come from a completely different background.

As I said in my disclaimer, I could go on for days about the benefits of interning abroad. The knowledge, growth and experience you gain from just being abroad in general is multiplied when receiving an internship and immersing yourself fully in a different culture. If given the opportunity, accepting an internship abroad is a must!

 

 

A Lesson On Making Interviews Less Scary

By: Kelly Hayes @kmshayes

You’re sitting in the hallway waiting for your name to be called, your palms are sweating and going over every little detail of your job experience in your mind. Finally the receptionist tells you, you can go into the conference room. You shake your interviewer’s hand and sit down. There’s a little small talk, the interviewer goes over your resume and any other application materials, they ask you questions in between and then you ask some questions. Finally the interview is over, and all you can think is, “thank goodness that’s over!” Although, it doesn’t have to be that way. Want to know how? Check out the tips below.

  • Be prepared. This is pretty much common sense, as you can see from one of our earlier posts. Research the company and make sure you know what you’ve done in the past, how much you’ve learned and what you can offer that company, etc.
  • Take a Diet Coke break. This pretty much means to prepare for your interview, but don’t worry about it once you are prepared. You can’t be 100% in an interview because you don’t know what specific questions they’ll ask. All you can do is take a breath, smile and think before you answer…. although don’t take too long answering or they think you aren’t prepared.

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  • Act normal. During your interview, see the interviewer as someone you have to impress but also like someone you’ve met before. Just let the conversation flow, and everything will seem much more natural to you.
  • Remember one BIG thing. The interviewer has been in your seat before. They don’t want to you to fail, they just want to see if you’re the right fit for the job and their company. If you don’t fit into their company culture, you both will be miserable. Be yourself, not a robot.
  • Smile. When I smile during interviews (even phone interviews) it makes everything easier.
  • Tell yourself, you’re awesome! Look at yourself in the mirror and say what your best qualities are in terms of your working capabilities, work ethic, personality, etc. The more confidence you have, the better you’ll do. And remember, you’re awesome!

Interviews shouldn’t be scary or nerve-racking. If you know what you’re doing, you will do fine. Follow these steps, have a little fun and remember to be the best version of you.

 

Does your internship have to be PR related?

By: Casey Weinfurtner @CaseyWein

internIt’s no secret our internship experiences help prepare us for a future career. When employers ask how we best fit the job through a sequence of interview questions, we’re going to need to draw from experience. That being said, aspects of your internship should be relevant to your career path. That’s not to say taking an internship a little out of the ordinary can’t prepare you – just be prepared to explain to an employer how it has.

Last winter break I interned with H.E.L.P. Malawi, a nonprofit organization that helps to better the educational programs in Malawi, Africa. I was listed under their “graphic design” intern and spent most of my time there building a Pinterest account as well as a small amount of time editing their newly remodeled webpage. Although this wasn’t exactly a PR internship experience like working for an agency or even doing PR related jobs like writing a press release, I still had enough relevant experience to discuss during the interview for my internship I have this summer at PR Newswire. I unexpectedly learned a lot about branding a company through social media, working in an office environment and putting my editing skills to work. Most importantly, I learned how to translate those new skills to my PR major and better understand myself what areas of PR I want to expand my learning.

Now with both of my internship experiences combined, I can give a well-rounded outlook on what type of career I want. Had I only stuck with my one internship from winter break rather than gaining more experience, I don’t think I would be as prepared for the real world as I feel now. The more experience you can gain the better – so take away experiences that will be most impactful on your professional life. Don’t waste time taking any opportunity that won’t be influential in the long run.

If you do consider taking an internship that doesn’t suggest it will be directly related to PR, consider the following questions on whether or not this internship is going to help benefit you:

  1. Will I be able to take what I learned throughout my internship and relate it back to a job within the public relations industry?
  2. How is what I’m learning at this internship going to be enough to help me with my success as a PR professional?

If you’re able to answer these questions positively, then you know you’ve found a meaningful experience.

Networking with Professors

professorAn average student has roughly five different professors in a semester. In a year, they probably have nine or ten. By the time a student graduates there is a good chance that they will have had 35+ professors. Each one has taught you something that you may or may not use in your profession, but are they here for more than being an instructor? The answer is yes.

They are here for you to network with, to help you potentially find an internship for the summer or a job after graduation. For some students it is intimidating to approach a professor. Students may not know how to network with a professor, or which professor to approach. To make the process a little easier, here are some guidelines to think about when starting to network with professors.

  • Find the right professor: This may seem difficult at times, but there are ways to tell which professor is right for you. Choose a professor that you like as an instructor and who has values you admire. Don’t pick one just because s/he is in your discipline, you have to be able to converse with him/her too.
  • Use your email: Sometimes the best first step is just sending a professor an email and asking them to meet you for coffee. You could also set up a meeting for their office ours. Just make an effort to get to know them.
  • Ask the questions: Be one of the students that actively participate in class, but be careful not to overdo it. Just be sure the professor is seeing your interest and knows your name.
  • Take small classes: This is easier said than done, but when possible take the smaller classes. The professor will get to know you better and vice versa. This allows for engagement in a more comfortable atmosphere.
  • Research the professor: Knowing more about your professor than just what they tell you in class is more beneficial than you think. This shows that you wanted to know a little more about them, and took an initiative to do so. Be cautious about coming off as a stalker.
  • Accept Advice: Be willing to accept the advice they give openly, many times they are just trying to help. Some information may really change your perspective.
  • Don’t Dine and Dash: Don’t be one of the students that takes advantage of your professors connections. Truly get to know them because you never know when they will be able to help in the long run.

These are just a few tips to consider when beginning to network. Don’t try to network with all your professors; it will get overwhelming and counterproductive. Remember to just take a leap of faith, because many professors want to help you. If you strikeout with one, move on to the next until you find the one you are proud to call a mentor.

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

3 Perks of Having a Scripps PRSSA Mentor

We’ve all felt that feeling as a freshman; you’re lost, confused and lonely when you first arrive in Athens, especially if you don’t know anyone on campus. I can admit that as a freshman last year, I had no idea what to do with my major and didn’t know anyone who could help me. I wanted to get involved to meet new people by joining organizations so I could gain PR experience. Little did I know that my future PR mentor was someone I looked up to in high school four years ago.

DarbI first met Darby Fledderjohn, a senior PR student, in high school as a sophomore in our journalism class. Darby was a senior and editor-in-chief of our high school’s yearbook. I joined the staff that year and looked up to Darby’s dedication and love for the publication. I admired her hard work the entire year and because of that, I knew I wanted to be editor-in-chief when I became a senior.

Darby and I kept in touch every now and then when she went off to college. I was accepted into Scripps my senior year of high school and was thrilled to know an upperclassman. At that time, I knew I wanted to write so I became a news and information major. However, my mind quickly changed and I switched to the strategic communication track two weeks into my freshman year. I have never been so happy with my decision.

I joined PRSSA to gain experience in the PR field and prepare for future internships. PRSSA offered a mentor/mentee program in the beginning of the year and I immediately thought of Darby. Fortunately, Darby became my mentor that year and she has helped me through so much.

Here are 3 ways having a PR mentor has helped me:

1. Scheduling. As a freshman, I struggled finding classes to take because I did not know which classes were most beneficial for my major. I didn’t know which professors to avoid or take.

Asking Darby to help me with scheduling over coffee in the Front Room was a great decision. She was able to help me pick the classes that were more important and which professors she learned best from. It was a comfort for me knowing that she was looking out for me and making sure I took the best classes possible for success.

2. Advice. A mentor will not only help you with schoolwork, but also with advice about school and life in general. I found myself multiple times texting Darby late at night asking about what to put on my LinkedIn page or resume. She was the first one I talked to when I was interviewed to be on MTV’s True Life. She was the first one I talked to about internships. It was so helpful to know that if I ever had a question about PR, internships, classes or just life in general, Darby would always be there for me.

3. Another Friend. A mentor is just another name for a friend. Darby and I were friends in high school but I feel that we have grown closer as friends ever since she became my PR mentor. We both have the same taste in TV shows (Catfish and Breaking Bad) and know each others likes and dislikes (Darby is obsessed with otters and pugs, but mostly otters). I looked up to Darby in high school but I look up to her now more than ever simply because she helped me through my awkward stage as a freshman and has made me fall even more in love with PR.

I am so sad that this is my last year with her as my mentor, but I am so excited to become a mentor myself and help another freshman just like how Darby helped me. Without Darby, I would not have had the confidence needed for this major. I have her to thank for being such a great friend and an influential person in my life. A mentor/mentee relationship has been one of the best decisions I have made at Ohio University and I recommend the program to anyone looking for guidance in PR.

-Alyssa Keefe is a sophomore studying strategic communication. Follow her at @lyssakeefe.

3 Ways to Survive Freshman Year

freshmen year 1Whether you were the star athlete, book worm or shy one in high school, it doesn’t matter anymore. You are in college with new people in a different environment, which gives everyone a fresh start. This is the first time that YOU are in charge of your own life. Your parents will not be contacted for any of the mistakes that you make, it is all on you.

With the new academic year (already) upon us it’s nice to have a few tips on making your freshmen year a GREAT one. These three tips are ones that will give you an amazing kick-start:

1. Make friends early. Everyone starts their freshmen year coming in looking for the same things as their peers. Go out and make new friends right from the beginning because all the other freshmen are looking to do the exact same thing. By making friends as early as possible it is almost guaranteed that you will make a few ones that will become your best friends.

Take advantage as early as possible to make good friends. You want to also make sure you make friends that bring you closer to college life rather than straying from it. These friends should be socially connected people who can introduce you to other people. Now, I’m not saying to disconnect yourself from your friends you already had coming into college. Simply try to find OTHER people who have the same major or interests as you.. These friends are the people who you can carry through the four short years you have in college and better impact your college career.

2. Get involved.  It is important to attend class and be a student first. This is SO important because attending class can give you the opportunity to create close relationships with your professors. When you need letters of recommendation or references for an internship or job, these close-knit relationships are easy resources to turn to.

If you have huge lecture classes it is still possible to create these relationships. Sit in the front of the class and they will be sure to notice you. ASK QUESTIONS if you need help! Professors are always happy to help – that’s the reason they’re there. It also puts your foot in the door and shows your strong work ethic.  The university has all the resources needed to help lead you to internships. Join clubs and organizations within the field of your studies to put you ahead.

3. Time management and personal discipline. One of the biggest wake-up calls when you first enter college is that every choice you make is strictly on you. Mommy and daddy will not be called if you miss class, oversleep on a test, or get into trouble. I know it is a scary thought but it is your life now – you are in full control of your decisions.

We all know that it is easy to slack off and be influenced by your friends to do the opposite of what we should be doing. However, time management and personal discipline are two major successors in college and everyone needs to learn how to use these skills to be successful in school. You have to learn to study, work and socialize all at the same time. Learning to balance your schedule to maintain good grades while also rewarding yourself later is the best bet.

The four years of college are said to be the “best time of your life,” right? So live it up while also taking the steps to have a beneficial time to later bring you success after college.

-Melissa Clark is a junior public relations major. Follow her at @clarkieee5.