Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Summer Interning: What can I expect?

June 9, 2015

By: CJ Riggs, @carla_riggs

Internship-Road-Sign-320x210

For anyone who has never interned before (like myself), you have NO clue what to expect, what you will be asked to do or how to come across as intelligent and knowledgeable. From professional tips, to the sticky situations, I am going to lay it all out for you.

First Nail-Biting Part of Summer Internships: Sending Millions of Applications

Once you decide you’re going to apply to your favorite company, keep in mind that each company looks for something unique. Sending a copy and past resume probably won’t appeal to the directors.

Be sure to customize your resume:

  • Use their language! (key words they’ve used in their application are a good way to trigger interest)
  • Focus on the involvement and experiences that will best market you! (it’s good to include what you do and are involved in, but just be sure to really highlight what you want them to see!)
  • Make it personal! (add in a sentence or a couple of key words that allow your personality and character shine through)

Most important tip: NO COMPANY IS OUT OF REACH!!

  • Don’t be afraid to apply anywhere. No company is too big or too “good”. An internship is a time for learning and growing.

Second Sweaty-Palm Part of Summer Internships: The Waiting Game 

And now, we wait

It can be really tough not to get anxious and overwhelmed if you haven’t heard back by March or April. Do not fear! A lot of employers take their time to get back about interviews, or second interviews.

Tips to staying cool, calm and collected:

  • Make a list and check it twice! Keep a running list of where all you have applied to, when their deadline is, who the contact person is and any information on whether or not they have a time frame for hiring.
  • Follow Up! If there is an organization you are really looking forward to working with, don’t be afraid to send an email to follow up about application status.

Third Pacing Part of Summer Internships: You’ve Got the Job!

Okay, now you can breathe. You have heard back from a company and THEY LOVE YOU! The hardest part is not wanting to pinch yourself back into reality. Your next step is probably a planning session.

Tips to looking and being the best you:

  • Dress for the job you want! Many people know the basics of work-appropriate attire, but what they don’t know is that there is a huge difference between dressing nicely and dressing to make an impression.
  • If the employer has ever seen a picture of you, try to wear that same outfit again, RECOGNITION IS KEY!
  • If you go on a second interview, wear the same thing OR something very similar. Nobody is going to think you’re gross for wearing the same suit.
  • Take extra copies of your resume, work samples and any other material they requested when you applied. (Not always, but sometimes they lose, forget or want to see your material again)
  • Write a ‘Thank You’ note. A little bit goes a long way. If it isn’t possible or appropriate to write a ‘thank you’ note, send an email thanking them for their time and express your excitement about the opportunity to meet with them.

Fourth Nervous Laughter Part of Summer Internships: Your First Day

Meeting new people and introducing yourself a million times is to be expected on your first. You may not remember any of their names, but they will know who you are. Start small and know who you work with and for. These are your VIPs when it comes to workforce family.

Tips to learning it and fitting in:

  • Even if you don’t know how to do something (something that isn’t a life or death situation) learn it and fit in! It is easy to look up information on basically everything. Don’t know how to use Hootsuite, NO PROBLEMO. There is a wonderful site called Dummies.com that will tell you step by step how to automate your tweet sending.
  • Don’t be scared to go to the bathroom or eat lunch. WE ARE ALL HUMAN! Your employer will understand that you need to use the restroom or that you like to eat lunch.
  • Always smile! It is harder for your employer to be mad at you for accidentally printing the same page 300 times instead of 30 if you have those pearly whites showing.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Making Army ImPRessions

June 20, 2013 1 Comment

Photo by Michael Noble Jr.

Photo by Michael Noble Jr.

Have you ever felt you were being thrown into the big leagues? Try being a media relations intern for an ROTC camp at one of the most renowned U.S. military bases in the world. Fort Knox, Kentucky is rumored to house our country’s gold and although I haven’t seen any gold, I have seen plenty of camouflage.

Applying for this internship I was confident of my portfolio, due to the pieces I gained from being an account associate for the ImPRessions Army and Air Force ROTC account. I had background with event coverage, the chain of command and LOTS of press releases. The opportunity to be a media relations intern for the ROTC’s Leader’s Training Course seemed like a perfect fit. I sent in my cover letter, resume and portfolio and then I waited.

After close to a month and a half of waiting, I got an email. I jumped out of my chair when I read that I had received the internship. Not figuratively jumped either, I literally knocked my desk chair over. I called my contact the next day within the allotted time, to verify my acceptance. When discussing the details, the public affairs officer whom I spoke to asked me how a freshman in college was able to put together such an extensive portfolio. My answer was simple; ImPRessions, the Ohio University student-run public relations firm. He sounded impressed, a very good sign considering I was dealing with the United States Army and I was just a freshman in Athens.

I’ve been in Fort Knox for close to two weeks now and thank ImPRessions every time I’m given a new assignment. My experience with the Army and Air Force ROTC account could not have prepared me better; my experience translated over perfectly. However, there are a few necessary things I’ve learned about taking on a big internship in my first weeks here.

Lesson 1: Make Friends. Friends are good to have no matter where you are, but when you’re working and living with 15 other interns for the majority of the summer, they’re essential. The last thing you need is drama from the hotel or wherever you’re staying carrying into the workplace. Getting along with everyone may be difficult, but it is totally worth the extra effort.

Lesson 2: Be Respectful, Not Intimidated. Coming onto a military base I knew that being respectful was going to be a huge part of the job. No matter whom you are dealing with, whether it’s another intern or a Major General, respect goes a long way. Just because you are respectful though, doesn’t mean you should be intimidated. No matter what the rank of the person you working with, it is your job to be there; act like it. Chances are they will respect you more and be more helpful if they realize you are serious about what you do.

Lesson 3: Do Not Let Anyone Underestimate You. Being a freshman, I am one of the youngest interns here. Most are going into their senior year of college or just graduated and many of them act like I am the baby intern. Although I may only be 18 years old (19 in three days), I have experience and I know what I’m doing. Letting them underestimate you will only make you believe what they’re saying. Take charge and prove your skills. Nothing feels better than having your boss ask you specifically for help on a job and nothing looks better than everyone else’s jaws dropping when you do well on an assignment.

Every internship experience is different: from the application process all the way through to the last day. I was lucky to have such extensive experience beforehand, but I still have a lot to learn. The best advice I can give to anyone starting an internship is “you get out of it what you put into it,” no matter how experienced your resume is before it will not benefit you unless you work hard and do your best. I’m looking forward to what the next two months hold for me.

-Rebecca Zook is a sophomore.

Selling Yourself: Pitching Yourself Instead of a Product

June 16, 2013 1 Comment

otterhugIn any number of my journalism classes I’ve learned how to write press releases, media pitches, package audio and video and just about everything needed to sell an idea. What my classes didn’t quite prepare me for was how to sell myself. During the interview process for my current internship at a waste and recycling company, I was asked to prepare a five-minute presentation about what I could add to their communications team.

My first thought was, “how do I do this without bragging?” However, I quickly realized bragging was exactly what I needed to do. Just like with any other pitch, if you don’t believe in the concept, why should anyone else?

Rather than providing a broad summary of my previous experience, which they could easily see from my resume, I chose to focus on spotlighting individual successes. On the ImPRessions networking trip to New York City earlier this year, we all learned that it is often more important to give people a reason to listen to you instead of just yelling and hoping to be heard.

I did my research on the company, and tailored my presentation to speak to their needs. On the company blog there were a handful of personal pieces about company employees. Working for a client with ImPRessions, spotlight pieces were a regular occurrence for me. I chose to focus on this and included screenshots of some of my most popular posts.

Before ending my presentation, I added an element that was inherently my own. A number of my close friends know that one of my main interests is otters, the furry sea creature. I included a short anecdote about how I created a post on Buzzfeed regarding my love for otters and it managed to get a large response on social media. The topic was a little off key but the reaction was impressive, and it definitely gave them something to remember.

Pitching yourself for a job isn’t so different than pitching a story for a client, when you boil it all down. The same strategies apply and as long as you believe in what you’re selling, it’s likely your audience will follow.

-Darby Fledderjohn is a senior strategic communications major with specializations in business and sociology.

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