How to snag a summer internship

By Megan McCourt, General Manager

“What are you doing after graduation?”

It’s the question I keep getting and can’t quite answer yet — the dreaded thought of what I’m going to do come May in the working world.

For the past two summers I’ve landed fantastic internships. 

Last year I worked for Jones Public Affairs, a boutique health care public relations agency in Washington, D.C., and the summer before I worked as a reporter for the Chico Enterprise-Record.

The experiences I had on the job gave me knowledge I never could have acquired in a classroom.
Right now is prime time for finding a sweet gig for this summer. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve compiled to help you find your dream internship:

  • Start your hunt: First you need to find an internship to apply to. Begin by looking at the websites of places you would like to work to see if they offer summer internships. Another option is to use job hunting websites tailored to PR professionals, such as PRInternships.net, EdWeek2010.com or JournalismJobs.com.
  • Utilize your social media: Twitter might be your best bet in finding a summer internship. If you don’t have a professional Twitter account, it’s probably time to start one. Start following companies you would be interested in working for, as well at their human resources departments. Many Twitter users exclusively post jobs, such as @PRJ0bs, @Journojobs, @PRSAjobcenter, @Ed2010News, @prwork, @InternQueen and many more.
  • Do your research: Once you’ve found a company that’s hiring summer interns, find out everything you possibly can about it. Scour the company website, do a Google search and find out as much as possible. When you write your cover letter, throw in a fact you found or try to relate to the company mission statement.   Knowing a good amount about the company will also help when it comes time for the interview.
  • Fix up your resume: Make sure everything is up to date, including your contact information and current position. Tailor your resume for the job you’re applying for and include links to your social media profiles. Have at least three people proofread your resume.A great resource for Chico State students is the Career Center. The staff is incredibly helpful and can give you much more advice than I can in a blog post.
  • Nail the interview: Dress sharp, show up five minutes early and bring your portfolio (preferably with a digital copy they can keep). Think of the interview as a conversation and dazzle them with your sparkling personality, while showing you have some knowledge of the company and the field. Make sure you have a few questions to ask them at the end of the interview.
  • Get the job! If all goes well, you will have snagged a sweet summer internship to help you along your career path or get your foot in the door. If you didn’t get it, keep on applying! The right internship is out there, waiting for you.

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