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Insider Story: PR and Communications Internships: PART ONE – GETTING THE INTERNSHIP

Insider Story: PR and Communications Internships: PART ONE – GETTING THE INTERNSHIP

As a PR and Communications student I knew that I needed some real-world, hands-on experience, so that I was ready once I had finished my course. With my intentions to enter such a competitive field in mind, as well as being constantly reminded by my University lecturers, I knew there was no options, experience was a necessity!   But how do you get it? Everyone speaks about it and warns you of what will happen if you don’t get that precious experience, but no one really explained the best way to go about it. Unfortunately for me, InternMe was not up and running when I was a University student, so it meant I had to find internship opportunities on my own (I know, totally annoying).   So, I started the only place I knew to go… the internet! Searching online for ‘internships’ and ‘work experience’ opportunities was tedious as there were not many options out there for the type of experience I was looking for. A lot of business’ have become paranoid about employing and allowing interns in their workplace as there have been crazy situations where former interns have taken their employers to court for mistreatment, and won!   As there was really no business or body to regulate internship agreements and employment situations, these incidents have caused the already small opportunity pool, to gain experience, even smaller. Well, thankfully we have InternMe now, which as you know becomes the mediator, connector and regulator for all internship situations that happen through our platform.   For weeks I looked through all the potential internship options and advertisements out there, applying for the ones that I felt were the most beneficial and appropriate for myself. It was a little like trial and error! I received numerous replies, and some times all it took was a reply email from the business and I knew… this internship and business was not going to work well for me.   I went to a few interviews, some of them I came out with a positive attitude and a calmness, because they seemed like a great company and team to work and intern for, others I came out terrified. A few business’ I had gotten into contact with scared me off with unprofessionalism, rudeness, their conditions of the internship, etc. I really think internships as well as any other form of employment is a personal thing, you need to feel some form of comfort within the place you work at and with the other employees, to be able to really succeed and enjoy your work.   I understand, we are all in a desperate position of trying to gain experience, however I can’t stress enough how important I believe finding the RIGHT internship is. The business, the values, the working team – these are all factors that should be taken into account when you are looking for an internship (and job) as they can really determine what you will be able to do, learn, achieve and enjoy whilst you complete your internship. However, it is also important for me to note that, you get what you put in, so make sure you always put all of your effort into each task.   It is important to remember that even though you are attempting to receive an internship position, you still need to take the interview and the work seriously! Professionalism stands for a lot and is also a great habit to get into, earlier rather than later. Remembering to act, look and communicate in a professional and polite manner will only help you, no matter the situation.   So, as a young University student I wanted to attempt to show my initiative, work-quality, work-ethic and maturity. Instead of going into an interview with years of real-life and work experience to show and to discuss with the employers, I only had my University history and one previous work-experience employment to show. With that in mind, I made a small portfolio in a display folder, in the folder I put: -CV -Reference from my work-experience employer -Pieces of work (essays and assignments from University) -Pieces of work from my work-experience   It wasn’t much, however it allowed the interviewer to have a look at my writing styles, creativity, dedication to my work and it gave them an idea of the type of person I was, in terms of my abilities and attitudes to work. The interviewer was very impressed with my little portfolio as it showed them a lot more than what could be said about me in a cover letter or CV. I now take a portfolio of my work to every interview I go to (however, the portfolio has evolved with actual pieces of work).   And… I got the Internship!   To find out about my experiences whilst completing my internship, read the ‘Part Two’ blog post, next week. If you have any questions regarding internships, please feel free to email [email protected]

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