As the internship coordinator at NST, I’m often caught off-guard at how unprepared some of the intern candidates are when applying for the position or when sitting down with me for the interview. Perhaps colleges should include this as part of the curriculum, but in the meantime here are some tips to ensure you get the interview, as well as how to ace the interview and obtain the internship of your dreams.
Cover letter—Make sure to include one. If you are majoring in public relations, writing should be your passion, so writing a cover letter should be a breeze. Pitch your potential employer on why you would be the ideal candidate for the position and show them your excellent writing skills. Also, proofread it very carefully to ensure there aren’t any typos.
Writing samples—If you are asked to submit writing samples, please do so. This request is your opportunity to showcase your best work so do not send employers to your personal blog that hasn’t been updated in a couple of years or only has posts on your passion to party.
Social media profile—Make sure your social profile, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, is something your parents would approve. While most people tend to keep things professional on LinkedIn and Twitter, I’m always surprised at how much I can learn from a potential employee on Facebook by looking at their photos. I get it! Facebook is where I post some of my crazy antics but I always make sure my privacy settings are set only for my friends to view, and I would recommend you do the same.
Be prepared for the interview—It takes five minutes to uncover information that will validate your interest in the position and will arm you with information to walk in during an interview and knock the interviewer’s socks off. Public relations professionals are the voice of a company so you’ve got to be prepared for that. Check out the company’s website and learn as much as you can about your potential employer. Remember to dress professionally and always bring writing samples with you.
Know the industry—As a student, you should be following industry trends and should be prepared to show your passion for the industry.
Ask questions—This is your opportunity to ask about the industry, the company, the position, agency life in general or about the person interviewing you. This is your chance to turn the interview into an informational interview and obtain as much information as you can. But don’t ask a question just to ask one. Incorporate some of the information you found through your research into your questions and be prepared.
Be yourself—A lot of employers use the interview as an opportunity to see if you might mesh with the organization’s culture or workflow method. Although you should still mind your manners, try to relax and project your personality. Not only will you seem confident, but it might give the interviewer a break from hours of meeting with nervous or timid candidates.
Send a thank-you—It’s important to thank interviewers for their time and this is your opportunity to reiterate what you can bring to the position as well.
Now that you are armed with tips, you are now ready to apply for the paid internship currently available at NST. If you are are interested in working with a great team of people, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to send writing samples along with your cover letter and resume.