Picture yourself at the end of your senior year in college. You are graduating sigma cum laude, made lifelong friends and you have a long list of student organizations you were involved in on campus. With a stellar resume, you are wondering why you haven’t received any job offers yet. An immensely important piece of your resume is missing – the internship.
In this competitive economy, the internship(s) makes you stand out in the mountainous pile of employer resumes. Internships give students first-hand experience in their field or industry. In addition, valuable work experience is gained, several skills are developed, and students have the opportunity to get their foot in the door by gaining important networking contacts.
Communications and Journalism are two very popular majors because of the vast opportunities for employment. However, the competition for a spot at your dream job is higher than ever. In particular, Public Relations and Broadcast Journalism are popular careers for students in these majors. It’s essential that you start interning, as early as your Freshman year, so that you can build your resume with solid, internship experience.
For students living close enough to commute to NYC, broadcast journalism internship programs are available at CNN, NBC, ABC and FOX news with positions for shows including Good Morning America, The Today Show and Anderson Cooper 360. Talk shows like Live with Kelly and Michael, The Rachael Ray Show and The Wendy Williams Show also offer internships in production and other departments.
If you’re looking for an internship at a specific show, Google the name of the television show and write “internship” following it for your search. Sometimes these internships are even paid! But don’t get discouraged if you don’t start off with a paid internship. An unpaid one usually offers academic credit, which is equivalent to taking another college course.
Another great source for internships is your college’s Career Services office. Internship coordinators for your major are available to help you find the right position for you. Be mindful of application deadlines depending on which semester you want to intern in (summer, fall or winter).
Specializing in Public Relations opens doors to many opportunities. A large majority of corporations have a Communications department. Fashion, electrical, television and financial companies are all examples of corporations that have a PR department. Using Google to narrow down a specific type of company you want to work for will help you to choose which ones appeal to you the most!
The internship application process is time consuming. Developing an effective resume and cover letter are key to getting to the next stage in the interview process-obtaining an interview. In a large applicant pool, you want to make yourself stand out. Here are some tips on how to stand out from other candidates:
- Freshen-up your social media profiles and content. Many intern coordinators are reviewing LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook accounts to get a sense of the virtual you. If you want to maintain privacy, check your settings and inform friends and family that now may not be the best time to share those April Fools’ Day photos and tasteless jokes.
- Upload a professional head shot to your social media accounts. Put your best face forward when applying for internships. You want to show your prospective boss that you are enthusiastic and savvy.
- To accompany your application, create a video (one minute or less) introducing yourself, mention some of your experiences and skills, and share why you’re perfect for the position.
- Join organizations on your campus that are related to your major. For instance, work at your school’s TV or radio station if you’re interested in broadcasting. Write about that experience on your resume and include glowing references.
- If you had previous internships, explain in detail what you did for the companies in your cover letter and why your experience will benefit you at the position you’re applying for.
- Read the job description. Mention any skills that they’re looking for in a candidate on your cover letter (if you have them). This will appeal to the recruiter because it shows that you’re qualified for the position.
Be sure to take your time revising and adding to your resume and writing a cover letter. If possible, find the hiring manager or the internship recruiter and address your cover letter to them. However, if you can’t find a name, your cover letter should say “To whom it may concern:”. In your cover letter, discuss your experiences and how your qualifications are perfect for this position. Always end your cover letter with “Sincerely”, be sure to write your contact information in your last paragraph, thank them and write you are looking forward to possibly hearing from them about interning at “XYZ.” Your university’s career services has advisors that can help you write a resume and cover letter or revise one you currently have written.
When looking for internships, make sure to read the description of the position. Make sure it’s something you’re interested in and won’t mind doing for an entire semester. Interns get amazing opportunities (i.e., working closely with leaders of the company and shadowing them while they do everyday tasks).
Never underestimate the power of networking and using your resources. You never know if one of your friends or someone in your family has a connection to a position you would be interested in. Last summer, I spoke to my Uncle about wanting an internship in the public relations or broadcasting field. He encouraged me to send him my resume because he might be able to speak to someone in his network about a summer position. A few days later, I received an email from inBLOOM Communications. That same week I started working for the company and continue to remain a part of its team, working around my school schedule and other opportunities in the broadcasting field.
inBLOOM has given me so much experience during the past eight months and I have learned a lot about the business that will benefit me long-term. Never hesitate to ask for help. In this competitive economy, connections and early experience are necessary to succeed.
During the Fall 2013 semester, I also had the opportunity of a lifetime interning in the Production and Audience department at The Rachael Ray Show in New York City. I was able to get a front row seat on how a daytime television show is put together. It gave me the opportunity to start building my professional network and even pitch segment ideas to the show’s producers.
In the Audience department, I assisted coordinators with the audience load-in-and out and helped distribute giveaways. The internship gave me the confidence to pursue my dream career in television. An internship is the best opportunity to discover the path you want to take in life.
Follow your dreams, plan ahead, and you never know where opportunities may lie in your life. If you have any questions regarding how to prepare for your own summer internship, please feel free to comment on this post and I’ll get back to you.
Good luck and get going, it’s time to start researching those summer internships!