I recently had the opportunity to interview potential summer interns and it wasn’t long ago that I was an intern. I read through intern applicants’ writing samples, looked over their resumes and spoke with them about their experience as well as their aspirations.
The process of looking for an internship in any industry is intimidating and daunting. While searching for my own, I always wondered what was missing from my resume or what interview skills I hadn’t acquired yet, because I was on what seemed like a doubtful and weary search with no end in sight. After finally getting three internships under my belt, graduating and working in my current position, I’ve learned a little bit more about what we look for in intern applicants.
They need to be knowledgeable about the agency they’re applying to.
This is HUGE and is my number one tip when applying to any internship position. As an applicant, there is nothing more off-putting than not knowing the work/background of the company interviewing you. You need to show that you have put in the work to read up on the founder, employees and clients of the agency. Show that you have initiative and can take action without being asked to do so.
Your writing samples need to be clean and grammatically correct.
There is a reason PR agencies ask for writing samples; we write all day. If your writing samples have grammatical mistakes or formatting errors, it shows a lack of attention to detail and writing skills. Make sure you triple check your work before sending to any HR representative or recruiter.
You should know how to communicate effectively.
Communication is a key when it comes to any job in the communications or marketing field. Always act professionally, whether in written word or verbal conversation. When you email the person in charge of interviewing, include a cover letter or a short message about why you are emailing them and what position you are applying for. When in an interview, speak slowly and enthusiastically to show that you are excited about the opportunity.
You don’t need to know everything; you need to show you can learn everything.
An internship position is a learning position. You do not need to go into an interview knowing the ins and outs of the industry. Your resume doesn’t need to be two pages long. We want to hear that you’re excited to enter the industry in the first place. We want to know why you’re applying for the job and what motivates you to learn the ins and outs of PR.
If you don’t have the experience to put your resume, find a way to create it.
Not having prior internship experience doesn’t need to be the reason you don’t get an internship moving forward. More often than not, it seems like the only people getting internships are the ones who have two or three already on their resume and honestly, that may be true. If you can’t find an opportunity, create one yourself! This is a piece of advice my own mentors have told me and I’ve grown to learn is true. Get a side hustle that gives you an edge above the rest. Show you can be “scrappy” when no one gives you a shot in the first place. Creating your own path and fighting to get where you want to be is the most impressive thing any hiring manager will want to see.
—By Alyx Sealy, Assistant Account Executive