Any public relations student knows that internships are a must to-do before graduation. However, some students also have the mentality of only needing one to be ready to jump into an entry-level position. If the internship is a full-time position and you get your hands involved in a variety of different projects, then yes, that can be true. Having worked at so many companies, I always preach that any PR student should get as much experience as possible. Below is a list of the different types of internships I had during college:
- Non-profit (Make-A-Wish)
- Public relations/event planning
- 3 small-sized agencies (3-8 employees)
- Graphic design
- Events assistant
- Public relations
- Medium sized agency (50-60 employees)
- Public relations
- Sports marketing (SUNY Oswego Campus Recreation)
- Media relations
- Higher education (SUNY Oswego Office of Transfer Services)
- Virtual assistant
- Public relations/administrative
- Healthcare (Albany Medical Center)
- Public relations/communications
The Benefits I Saw in Pursuing Multiple Internships
- Experiencing different environments. I worked at small and big companies and worked solo in some roles and as a team player in others. I also experienced working in a room by myself, sharing an office with an employee and working in the same room as other employees. It may seem minimal, but understanding which kind of office environment you prefer may be a deciding factor for whether or not you accept an internship, depending on the kind of work you’d be doing.
- Understanding the difference between in-house and agency work. Knowing the different between both types of companies is important, but experiencing each setting is a different experience. As I’m sure most public relations students know, working in agencies allows you to do work for clients from different industries. On the other end, working in-house for a non-profit or a hospital brought about very different experiences for me. Throughout your internships, you can expect to be doing similar tasks, such as building media lists, writing press releases, and doing press clippings. However, in-house positions tend to be more hands on deck, whereas agency work is more granular and specified. As an intern, naturally you’ll most likely be doing a mix of tasks anyway.
- Expanding your network. I can say that through all my internships, I have met a LOT of people. Of course, you can’t remember everyone. But I try to stay in touch with my previous supervisors or employees I bonded with by following them on social media, sending the occasional holiday cards or emailing them an update about what has been going on in my life. You never know who you will make a connection with and how they could help you later down the road in your career. Let’s not forget the expanding list of people who could attest to the quality of work you produce and give you a recommendation.
- Improving your resume. This was my number one reason for gaining so much experience. Getting your first internship can be tricky and even when you move on to more competitive internships, getting an offer can be difficult without previous experience.
- Building your portfolio. Your class writing samples will only go so far. As an aspiring public relations specialist, you need real work samples you can show to future employers to prove your writing skills. My portfolio that was compiled for my last internship’s interview had samples from almost every previous internship. The woman interviewing me (and who ended up being my supervisor) was so impressed that at one point she wasn’t even sure what else to say about it besides its impressiveness.
- Expanding your public relations skills. This expands off of the last point. Your writing class is important, but writing for a semester and never polishing your skills afterwards is not going to prepare you for the real world. Through each internship, you’ll improve your press release writing skills by producing work for a variety of clients.
Author: Lauren Taylar
Lauren Taylar is a digital marketer and blogger. She is a recent graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations.