College is that time of your life where you are supposed to learn about the field you wish to make a career in. You attend lectures, study, take tests, complete projects, and hopefully learn all you can. But there is one thing missing in the “college experience” — real-world application. Here’s where internships come into play. I have been lucky enough to have two internships, and I can honestly say that these experiences have given me a lot more of an eye opening than I received in the classroom.
A little bit of background on me. I am currently in graduate school in Boston, anticipating graduating in May 2019 (fingers crossed!). Before grad school, I had a brief run in with the world of Public Relations both in high school and in undergrad. I loved those experiences, but they did not make me want to pursue a career in PR. My dream was always to go to New York and live the actor life. Fast forward to post-graduation, when I realized just how many talented people were in NYC and not finding success…was I going to be like them?
Instead, I moved back home with my parents and worked a few service-related jobs. First in guest relations at an amusement park, and then at a coffee chain (think green and a siren). That’s when I realized PR might be for me after all. One Master’s program, a move to Boston, and a new venture led me here!
Internships are truly the best way for you to get practical, hands-on experience in the field you wish to pursue. So, how did I land mine?
Do your research
Being somewhat new to Boston and a first-year graduate student, I did what any good student would do…I went to Google! I entered things like “Communication firms in Boston,” “PR agencies in Boston,” and found a lot.
Here are some of the key factors I paid attention to throughout my search:
- Who their clients are/were
- What they offer service
- Where exactly in Boston they were located (I don’t have a car, so I needed something that was easily accessible by public transportation)
Once I had a better idea of the available internships and their prerequisites, I sent out my resume to all the agencies where I met the requirements. I got a reply from a few. I went on those interviews and eventually landed one! Being my first PR internship, I went in with a bit of knowledge from class and eager to learn, and I was not disappointed.
Persistence pays off
I truly learned a lot from my first internship, especially being new to the field of PR. When the internship came to an end just as the summer started up, I hit the ground running once again. On my days off, I would look for other opportunities that fit my skillset and interests. Again, Google was my best friend.
I had a few more replies and interviews this go around. One of the interviews was here at SHIFT! I came in and met with the team, and the rest is history!
What have I learned?
So here I am a month in and I have to say, I am still learning a lot! SHIFT services clients across a wide variety of industries. I was used to the consumer side of PR, but here I am learning about B2B Tech PR and Marketing Technology…What?! These two areas are piquing my interest and offer challenges that you don’t see with consumer PR. Yes, there is a lot…and I mean a lot more research with these two, but for someone who loves learning, research is no enemy. I come in everyday, eager for the challenges that get thrown at me, and eager to learn. And I must admit, I am started to fall in love with the B2B Tech side of things. (SHHH, don’t tell my mentor!)
If I had to offer advice to students looking for an internship, be it PR or another field, it would be keep an open mind. You might think you want an internship at the biggest name in your field, but sometimes the best opportunities are where you never would have looked. Internships are all about learning and practicing. If you get an internship, you may end it by figuring out that is not the field you want to be in, and that is perfectly fine! In college you have the freedom to fail. Try new things! If you don’t succeed, maybe it is not for you. But when you find an internship where all the stars align, even if you never thought they would, that feeling is truly magical.
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