College has it challenges, but most of these challenges are presented to us by someone else. And they’re often provided with directions and a pass or fail grade. Finding an internship is a new challenge that students are faced with, especially for public relations students. An internship is required to graduate in the PR program and it must be approved by the director of public relations Lolita Cummings. So I am here to share some advice that I wish someone would have told me.
When starting the PR program I was aware that an internship was required. It’s important to know that this internship is not just learning beyond the classroom experience. It is considered an actual three credit class. An internship also must be done in the same semester you are gaining credit. Seems to make sense, right? Well, it is not just considered experience and an “okay, you can graduate now.” Nor can it be done within a three-month window to receive credit. It is a class, and you have to treat it as a class. You are required to jot in a journal after every shift, discuss what you learned, record what your current tasks may be for the week, and present examples of work done for the organization.
When getting an internship you have to keep in mind the amount of hours. You can receive 1-3 credit hours per internship. Knock out the three credits in one semester or do two separate internships throughout your college career. I cannot say which is best. Granted, the more experience you have on your resume the better.
Searching for an internship is the real challenge, but if approached correctly, you can eliminate the popular struggles. I started looking about nine months in advance. I know I wanted to do a summer internship and started asking for advice and searching online for descriptions. With those descriptions I tailored my resume toward the job descriptions, without lying of course. Keeping your resume clean, concise, and specifically targeted toward the type of internship is very important.
Creating an account at interninmichigan.com is great place to start. When creating an account, you must fill out a survey to help shape your job search. Weekly internship opportunities are available and you can easily apply. I applied to four of the internships, and heard back from two within a couple weeks for an interview.
The best piece of advice I can give, is to join PRSSA at EMU. Members and E-board members are driven and helpful people, and it is contagious. PRSSA made me more motivated to succeed. It will also present you with plenty of opportunities, let alone invaluable advice, first-hand experience, and face-to-face interactions with professionals in the PR, journalism, and communications field. Gaining this knowledge will help you be the best candidate you can be. Public Relations firms around the nation know of PRSSA, and being an active member will set you apart from the competition.
Vice President of Special Events & Programs