Internship Checklist: What You Need to Do

By: Austin Ambrose; @tex_ambrose7

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We are sadly winding down the school year, and there is a million and one events we all have to attend. Before we know it May will be here and internships will begin. Starting a new internship can be intimidating, and returning to one will bring new challenges. After having had experienced and out-of-state internship, for the first time, with few expectations, I learned this unknown checklist to go through. To help prevent others from making my mistake, here is a nice little list of a few things to remember for your internships this summer.

1. Check Out Your Living Situation

Make sure you take the time to do research on where you will be living if it is provided. Don’t just assume they will provide everything, or you will be doing late night Walmart run your first night there to get the much needed coffee pot, toilet paper and dishes. Also, if you know someone who has interned in the same city you are, ask them for advice on where to live. They will have had the trial and error process and know where the good places are. If you are living at home, make sure the people who buy the food have the must needed snack pack and PB&J.

2. Explore the City

If you are venturing somewhere new, make sure you take the time to learn the city. As old-fashioned as it sounds, look at a map of the city, it can even be Google Map. Learn the orientation of the city so you are not lost upon arriving. Then when you get there, learn the best way for transportation. This will save confusion when you think 3rd North will connect with 3rd South and never does.

3. Standout

This may sound like something we all should do, but not everyone will volunteer to take the meeting minutes, or that extra project. You don’t necessarily have to do something amazing, just do more to let people know who you are. You may want to return next year and they will remember who you are, or they may want to hire you in the future. Make the effort to standout from the crowd.

4. Savor the Moments

Internships fly by. It’s a couple short months of intense work with people you may have never met before this experience. Get to know your coworkers, your employer, and soak up everything you are learning. You will regret it later if you didn’t get every second out of the experience that you could have. You coworkers may be great people to know later on.

Internships are exciting, scary and chaotic all in one. Go in prepared and everything will be great. Own the experience because there is so much to absorb.

Fall Internships are Coming! Did you Apply?

By: Austin Ambrose @tex_ambrose7

TypingFinding an internship is a big stress that many college students face in their academic career. The importance of having experience in the field a student is studying has risen. Many majors have made completing an internship prior to graduation a requirement.

Deciding when to start looking for an internship can be confusing. Students may think that there is a designated window in which internships are applied for. The simple answer of when to start looking: anytime.

Internship applications can be found year round, depending on when a student wants to participate in an internship. There are chances to complete an internship during a semester (spring or fall), the summer and even during winter breaks. There are always internship applications available, so it is never too early to start looking.

After a student decides when s/he wants to do an internship, the next step is to start looking and see what’s out there. Earlier is almost always better. As soon as a student is set on a time, go to resources that can help find internships available during that time frame. Good resources are academic department buildings, career and leadership services, and even professors of the university.

The typical period for when students try for internships is during their summer breaks. A good time to begin looking into these internships is in the middle of September. The most competitive internships have early deadlines for applications, some being in the middle of October.

According to internships.com, the bulk of internship applications are filled out between the end of February and beginning of April, and it is recommended that most of the application is ready before heading off for spring breaks. This will ensure that you are giving yourself time to complete all components of the application process.

If you want to find an internship at a specific company or organization, it is best to look at their websites to look for deadlines. These are also great places to identify what types of internships are offered through this organization or company.

Finding an internship is no easy task. The best thing that you can do as a student is to plan ahead, and be active in your searches. Starting to look as soon as possible will increase the number of internships a student will find, and can even raise the chance of receiving the internship wanted.

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!

 

 

Increasing Facebook Engagement One Step at a Time

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

Before starting my internship this summer, I thought I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about social media, including Facebook, but I was wrong. Throughout the past two months, I have learned a lot about this social channel and what works for increasing engagement.

  1. Pay to play. Facebook’s organic reach has declined. Less and less people are seeing posts that you work hard to create, which means less people are engaging. Unfortunately, if you want to increase engagement, you will have to pay to boost your posts. Personally, I don’t think boosting every post is necessary, just the important posts. For example, if your company gets publicity and you share it on your Facebook page that is a post I would boost. If your company is hosting a webinar or added a new blog post to its page – those are posts I would write and boost.
  2. Use images. Images will catch your audience’s eye, and people are more likely to share a post with a fun photo. Posts with photos get 39 percent more interaction, according to NerdGraph. If you can post behind the scenes photos of your company’s employees, location or events, this is a great way to get people engaged and give them the inside scoop on your company, giving your brand a personality.
  3. Ask for engagement. If you want someone to share or like a post, ask for it. Many times, if you include a simple call to action in your status, it is likely that people will play along, doing what you asked for. If you get engagement, make sure you are always engaging back! This is important. People engage with you because they want a two-way experience, not one-way.
  4. Check your insights. Facebook insights can be very helpful when you are deciding when or what to post. Check to see what time the largest amount of your fans is online and then schedule post for that time. This will help to increase your organic reach so more people see your post. Also check insights on what the most popular types of posts have been in the past. This will help you decide if you should post a link, a text-only status, a photo, video, etc.

These are four steps that I have found helpful in getting more engagement on Facebook. I hope you found them helpful, too!

Check out this infographic for more tips on increasing Facebook engagement!

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How to Make a Media List Without Cision

By: Marisa Fiore @MarisaFiore1

So you have already made a media list that identifies the campaign’s objective and the audience you want to reach. What’s next? Here are three ways to enhance your media list without using Cision.

  1. Research beginning with the end. What do you want your end goal to be? Decide what the steps you need to take to meet your goal. Once you have figured out where/how you want the message shared, go after the outlets that will get you to that exact goal.
  1. Use social media. Most journalists have Twitter accounts these days, and they usually have Twitter lists of their colleagues. Just do some digging to find new reporters. Once you have found new reporters, Google them and read their stories. Don’t forget to research reporters that have covered your beat in the past too!
  1. Collect the right information and refine. Make sure you are getting the correct contact information. Don’t forget to include how the journalist prefers to be contacted whether it is by phone or by email. What materials do they usually need (photos/videos)? When is the best time to connect with them? What is the best story angle for your pitch? Make sure you only have one reporter for each type of publication, to ensure you don’t have any duplicates.
  1. Quality over quantity. It is more effective to have a small list of folks you have a relationship with vs. a large list of people you randomly send information to. Build up a relationship before you actually need them.
  1. Consider new media groups. Sometimes when we think of our audience, we think of just one kind of person. However, sometimes our audience includes a whole new group of people. For example, I did a project on coffee addicts and my research showed that there was a growing number of Hispanics that were drinking more than two cups of coffee today. It is important to be aware of these trends so that you can tap into different ethnic and local media groups.

No matter which way you decide to go, make sure you have done your homework. Research is the most important part of any successful campaign. As Albert Einstein said, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” If we already had the perfect media list we wouldn’t be building and enhancing one! Remember nothing is ever perfect and there is always room for improvement!

 

Making Time to Blog: Quality > Quantity

By: Kerry Tuttle @kerrtut

As PR majors, we’re writers and storytellers and lovers of personal branding.  However, making time to blog can be tough, especially because we already spend so much time writing for our classes, internships and student organizations.

Having a blog is not a requirement for getting a job or being a PR major. If you can’t see yourself regularly contributing content, just create a personal website that serves as a landing page for your online presence. Blogging should be something that’s enjoyable for you. It shouldn’t be a burden or feel like it’s another assignment you have to turn in.

That being said, here’s my advice for making time to blog:

  1. Blogging because you’re inspired to write something, is better than blogging because you haven’t gotten a post in for a while. I don’t keep myself on a set schedule. The content I produce is a result of me finding inspiration or feeling the need to write about a recent experience. Your posts will turn out better if you’re writing because you want to, rather than because you have to.
  2. Aim for at least one quality post per month. You’re not a professional blogger that’s expected to update us on your life every day. In my opinion, quality is greater than quantity. I’d rather read one well-written, thought-out post per month, than four average weekly ones.
  3. Keep a list of blog ideas. This will make it easy to write something when you’re feeling like you need to update your site. Also, start posts and save them as drafts. It’s easy to come back to them if you want to publish something.
  4. Try out new things. I know that everyone says that your blog is supposed to have a theme and I agree to a point. I say write about whatever you want to write about in order to find your voice. A personal blog is a perfect place to experiment with new writing styles and subjects. Every single post doesn’t need to be industry related. If you want to write about your latest travel adventure or an awesome recipe you tried, do it. Your personal blog should reflect you as a person and your interests.

Happy blogging, Bobkittens!

You can read Kerry’s personal blog, Keep Calm and Kerry On, here.

To Break or Not to Break?

By: Elaine Carey @snakesona_laine

THE REAL WORLD – No, not the MTV show. I’m talking about that big, scary, looming thing that awaits you after graduation. Think you’re ready? Maybe not? Perhaps a break (AKA gap year, AKA bridge year) after graduation is right for you.

What kind of break are we talking about?

If you’re thinking about moving back in with the ‘rents, sleeping in, and asking your high school job to rehire you, reconsider.

Your “break” should be spent developing skills for jobs you might like to have in the near future, as well as learning about your industry – not loafing around. Get an internship or a job abroad. Volunteer! Do something!

Some tips

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  • Be warned: Break years can be hard to explain in interviews! Be ready for questions about what you’ve been up to since college, and have a good answer. Use your break wisely.
  • If you simply couldn’t find a full-time job out of college, don’t waste that year moping, but don’t panic either.  For example, if you think that you need some customer service experience, volunteer to answer phones for a nearby charity organization.
  • If your parents are paying the bills, at the very least find a job as a server or a clerk in a retail store. Save up some money of your own and learn everything you can from your position.
  • Break years are for figuring out what exactly it is that you want to do for the rest of your life. If you want to postpone a commitment to a full-time job, use that time to explore. Get to know yourself better and have new experiences. If it seems like all your friends have jobs and know exactly what they want from life, just remember that everyone is different.

So is a break right for you?

If you’re worried that you might end up living with your parents until you’re 40 and buying a lot of cats, don’t do it. If you want to move to Montana, work on a ranch and meet the love of your life, maybe, but let’s not romanticize. Breaks are for people interested in growing and learning before committing to something that they’re unsure of – and they’re just that – a break. Don’t forget to put that wonderful degree to use some day in the foreseeable future! You worked hard for it.

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Need more help deciding? Check these out.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/jobs/05career.html?_r=0

http://internships.about.com/od/internsites/a/Gap-Year.htm

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/reasons-its-ok-to-be-unemployed-right-after-graduating-co