The Search is On: Tips for Internship Hunting Success

Summer internship hunting is here for many college students, myself included. Here are three tips that help me stay focused and get applications in on time.

  1. Excel Spreadsheets. I seriously live by Excel spreadsheets. So when I started looking for internships it was no different. While looking for internships I keep an Excel spreadsheet open so I can get all of the information I need to know about the internship. Things I include are the title of the internship, location, dates for the internship, where to send my resume and cover letter, and a link to the website for the internship. I also include the date I applied for the internship. Trust me, keeping track of internship leads this way definitely helps!
  2. Resume and Cover Letter. Keep your resume updated! This will make it easier when you start to apply for internships. My suggestion is to keep your resume to one page and do something creative to make it stand out. It is also important to tailor your resume to fit the internship you are applying for. An easy way to keep track of all of your experience is by creating a LinkedIn account. It also allows you to elaborate on the experience you have and you can include this link on your resume. You can read more about my resume suggestions here. As far as your cover letter goes, write a different one for every internship you apply for! You need to cater your cover letter to fit the internship you are applying for, just like you do for your resume.
  3. Network! Network, network, network. Attend conferences, like Real World PR, for an opportunity to network with professionals at a career expo. These connections can be valuable and also give you an opportunity to pass out your resume to potential employers. This also allows you to network with fellow students, who can help you out by looking over your resume to offer your advice before you apply for internships.

These are three things I stick to before, during and after my internship hunt. What are tips you have when it comes to internship hunting?

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Are YOU on the Bandwagon?

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Social Media is on the rise, and boy has it risen above most others. It is very obvious that people are obsessed with this new fad and it is not stopping anytime soon. This past week as I participated in various chats on Twitter (#SMMackChat#u30pro #blogchat ) I realized that a lot of people tweet about social media while using social media. Yes, I have obviously jumped on the social media bandwagon, but have you? This blog post is dedicated to my top three favorite social media sources that I use on a daily basis.

1) Twitter

We all use it. Twitter is great for many reasons, the top reason being networking. I have gained so many student and professional connections via Twitter and it is all because I actively engage in conversations. I will admit that for a while I would sit back because I was too timid to mention someone in a tweet or actually participate in chats like #PRStudChat or #u30pro. Instead I would occasionally send the, “Today is going to be great!” or “Cleaning around the apartment.” until I realized this past semester that you have to be confident on Twitter. So many great things are happening on this social media outlet, so why would you choose not to get involved? Plus, it is free!

Out of all of the social media sites that I engage in, Twitter is in my top three. I love the fact that you can do research via people you are following or by searching for it. You can start a conversation with a stranger and build a relationship solely because you have similar majors or live in the same area. There have been countless times when I have found people who major in public relations and I tweet to them on a daily basis. Something that actually happened today was a connection I made from the prstudchat-class-of-2011 list. I was looking to see if any other students graduating in 2011 had been added to the list and I saw @sandrulee so I decided to say hello. I discovered that she is from Turkey and we discussed some social media that had been banned in the country.

I feel like Twitter really is more than just a site to “update your status”. Twitter allows you to exchange information about various topics with people by mentioning, hashtags, or DM’s. Obviously it is an amazing source to network and connect with as well. When I signed up for it I was not a public relations major yet, but now I use it constantly because it is a great tool for the PR world.

Follow me on Twitter. I would love to chat with you!

2) LinkedIn

LinkedIn is still fairly new to me because I just joined a few months ago, but I love it! I have only connected with 46 people, but they are really great individuals to network with. LinkedIn is a website to upload you resume with the opportunity to add more content so people have a more in-depth understanding of everything listed under each section (Experience, Awards, Education, etc). It is obviously a fantastic way to network with professionals and students in the same field as you. It also allows you to join groups and interact with people. I recently gained a connection by joining the HAPPO group on the site. I definitely think it is worthwhile to join groups on the site, but do not just join them, get involved! Talk to fellow group members. You can help each other if you have questions about something or if you just need advice.

LinkedIn is a social media site that students and professionals should all join. It is professional and like I said before, great for networking and connecting with others. Come join me on LinkedIn! I would love to have you in my network.

3) Facebook

Of course I had to add everyone’s favorite, Facebook. I have had Facebook since it became available to high school students in 2006 and I am still engaged with the site even though there are privacy issues. When I first signed up I rarely got on to do anything. For a while I thought it was more stalker-friendly then anything. Eventually I got over that stage because I discovered it is a great way to stay in touch with friends that move, family members that are not near you, and sharing photos and videos. After I became a PR major I discovered how to really utilize Facebook to fit into being social media savvy.

One of my favorite things about Facebook is the ability businesses have to create fan pages. People can “like” fan pages to stay up-to-date with what is going on with a company, store, or organization that they like. Of course there are fan pages for everything, but many of these are pointless to me. I guess if people like the idea behind the page then they like it (no pun intended! :p). I personally control five Facebook fan pages and I love that I can interact with people who comment on the page by answering question or just saying “thanks for the comment”.

The PR Real World Conference workshop that I attended about social media taught me to keep Facebook fun and professional. Yes, it is great to go out and have fun and see pictures that your friends post from the night before, but be smart about it. Do not post pictures of you drinking and doing illegal things. Employers can and DO look at your Facebook page so keep it tidy. They are more likely to hire someone who has a cleaner profile then someone who has pictures and status updates of themselves going out to party every night.

You can friend me on Facebook as well!

That is my list of favorite social media outlets!

Now I have a few questions for you to think about or answer:

Are YOU on the bandwagon?

What are your favorite social media sites? Do you think Twitter will become “out-dated” in the next few months? How do you feel about LinkedIn? Are the privacy issues with Facebook going to cause you to “quit”?

PR Real World Conference: Part Two.

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Session 2: Seal the Deal: What You Need to Know to Land the Job

There were two great speakers at this session discussing the interview process and what to do when you land the job.

Sharon Jones of Ketchum: Interview.

  • Research the company before you apply to a job. You do not want to go to an interview not knowing anything about the company you would like to work for.
  • Find out what the company is doing to show off at the interview.
  • Ask what the companies values are.
  • NETWORK! Traditionally and with social media (join websites such as LinkedIn).
  • Follow-up after the interview. Ask something like, “May I connect with you at a given time?” after the interview. Ask when a decision will be made to help you plan follow-up.
  • Your resume should be PERFECT. No typo’s or wrong spellings. Use key word phrases to draw the employers eyes to your resume. Keep resume one page and updated; make relevant for where and what you are applying for. Do not assume the employer knows what a previous company you have worked for is; include brief description in resume.
  • The cover letter is very important. If the resume engages the speaker then they will look at your cover letter.
  • Before interview: do not arrive to the office until fifteen minutes before interview. Pump yourself up! Practice your elevator speech. You never know when you will have to use it.You are interviewing with everyone when you walk through the door.
  • When someone wants to shake your hand, stand up.
  • Evaluate how well you listen, prior to the interview.
  • Maintain comfortable eye contact.
  • Mirror formality of interview. Just because the person you are interviewing with is very comfortable does not mean you should be.
  • Go with thoughtful, prepared questions. This shows that you have researched the company and are interested.
  • Send a personal thank you note after interview. If you interviewed with several different individuals, send a thank you to everyone.
  • If the company gives you an offer, respond in two days.

Tia Jackson of Porter Novelli: When you land the job.

  • Just meeting expectations is not good enough. Go the extra mile, it really can make a difference.
  • Get to know the business. Know exactly what to do.
  • Network! This is key to having a successful career.
  • Ask expectations for career. Meet with your manager and team if you are on one.
  • Be actively engaged and take advantages of opportunities.
  • Research! Make sure you know what you are walking into.
  • Find out what you can expect in the first 24 months of your career.
  • Meet deadlines! If you have more than one to meet on the same day talk with your manager to help make a plan to meet these deadlines.
  • “This is your career. You have to take charge of your career.”
  • Set goals for yourself.

Other tips from Sharon Jones and Tia Jackson:

  • If you have already accepted a job, but you get a better job offer know that the first company will most likely turn their nose on you.
  • If you do a phone interview put a mirror in front of yourself so you smile!
  • When you are in your interview physical appearance is first impression. Keep it moderate!
  • If there is a salary question on the application do research to find out what is appropriate to put.

My LinkedIn Account: http://www.linkedin.com/in/amfunderburk1