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Archive for the ‘Cover Letter’ Category

britney-spears-bald.jpgJust as I was getting used to my class schedule, workload and Britney Spears’ new hairdo, I realized there were a few items on the back-burner that had been simmering a little too long. Internship applications!

 

I have a few rules of thumb when it comes to applying for internships. (Interesting that this looks a little like the RACE process…)

 

  • Research: You have to know something about the company before you can begin convincing anyone that you are a perfect fit. Although you want experience, you want to make sure that the company can offer you the chance to learn new skills, enhance areas you already feel confident in, and take on responsibilities of your own so you can find out your real abilities. Just because the name of the agency or corporation may look good on your resume in the future doesn’t mean it’s going to offer you the best possible experience you can get.

  • Plan ahead: Due dates are usually set in stone, and it’s important to plan ahead for each application you are considering. Do the applications require writing samples, essays or recommendation letters? These elements all take time, and if you want to differentiate yourself from other applicants, take you submission seriously and choose samples of your work that represent your strengths. Leaving time to get your work together will also make a world of difference if you realize you are missing an extra copy of an article or your transcript when you’re ready to apply.

Allowing extra time will also endear you to those writing letters of recommendation for you. According to Kent State PR sequence coordinator Bill Sledzik, writing a great letter of recommendation for a student can take up to an hour. Your professors and former employers might be willing to help you out, but try to give them notice. Making sure you have an updated resume to send them for reference will also make their job easier.

 

  • Write, and write well: Most applications require more than just a cover letter and resume, which should both be flawless and specific to the company. It should come as no surprise that in public relations most of those extra materials will be writing-intensive. Ask your professors, friends and career service centers to critique your work for GSP mistakes and clarity.

  • Follow up: Once all of your applications are turned in, don’t just head off for spring break. Follow up with the contact for the internship to make sure they received your materials and let them know you are serious about the offer. Make sure you provide several contact methods so your potential employer can reach you with questions.

InternshipsMost importantly, don’t be afraid to apply. Although many internships note that previous experience is a plus, most companies realize that you have to start somewhere. Find ways to show how your classroom experiences, think print beat, principles of PR and news writing, and participation in extra-curricular activities and leadership roles have helped you understand the PR process and effective ways to communicate.

 

Showing that you understand the concepts and are ready and willing to apply them to the real world will give you a distinct advantage over someone who just needs to get an internship to graduate.

 

Be excited, be honest, and be yourself. The next challenge is when that phone rings…

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