By Shaffwan Ahmed
Let’s face it, landing a PR internship is tough for various reasons. Employers look for not only your skills and everything else you bring to the table, but also someone that fits well with their organization. Let’s not forget how tough the competition is. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get selected for one. Instead improve on what you have. Start off by reevaluating your portfolio and resume, even your cover letter. I suggest having someone in the PR field look it over. You can ask a professor of one of your classes, that is if they’re not busy, or drop into the campus career service center (in the Faculty Admissions Building), but what you want is to have someone else look at it that can be objective (be ready to make major changes to your arsenal).
Next thing to do is to think about the questions that were asked during the interview and see where you might have gone awry. Sometimes it’s not even you, speaking from my own experience; I was told I wasn’t selected because the person I was competing against had more experience than I did.
Don’t look at it as the end of the road and lose hope! All is not lost; actually, this makes things better for you. A new door has opened up to you that will possibly give you more flexibility and it can be very rewarding. You can MAKE your own internship, sounds crazy right?
I remember one night during fall semester a few years ago when I was first starting out in PR, I was sitting in Dr. Collin Baker’s social marketing class. He was talking about the importance of the work we do in class and how it can help us land our internships, then he said something that has stuck with me since that night, “if you don’t have an internship, don’t sit around and wait for one, MAKE one for yourself, volunteer, write, find something that uses these skills you’ve learned in class.”
I’ve repeated that to myself over and over whenever I went out to do anything, or participated at any organization or event after that day. I keep my eyes open or opportunities. Even though I’ve done a few internships, I still keep my eyes open for things that might be able to use my skills. The best thing about this type of pro bono work is that you can work it around your schedule and be a part of the team of an organization that you are already a part of.
This experience is vital, what you will be doing can be rewarding because while you are helping an organization with your skills, you are growing in your profession. Good luck on your search!