Ten Takeaways from PRSSA’s 4th Annual Internship Panel

Read about PRSSA’s latest event, the 4th Annual Internship Panel told by the IC PRSSA Blog Team!

By: Jessie Walker

12118645_995555047165177_7108054275329790013_nOn October 8 2015, at 7 p.m., PRSSA hosted their fourth annual internship panel, co-sponsored by AMA, IC Women in Communications, AAF, IABC, IC Social Media Street Team, and Young Entrepreneurs Club. The event was moderated by senior TV-R major, Michael Schwartz, and featured student panelists who shared their valuable internship experiences. Students who attended had the unique opportunity to hear about each intern’s experiences, as well as ask questions pertaining to the internship process. Read below to learn the ten takeaways from the event.

1) Don’t do it alone! Utilize on-campus resources to start your internship search.

Career Services offers many different services to help students succeed in the process of finding an internship. Suggestions among students on the panel included the Job and Internship Fair (occurs once every semester), Networking Nights (held in different cities over winter break), as well as the meeting with professionals who work in the Career Services office. Career Services also offers tools such as ICHired, CareerShift, access to the Alumni Directory, and more! Don’t be afraid to stop in and ask for help!

2) Find a way to make yourself stand out during the internship process.

In most internship opportunities, there could be dozens, maybe even hundreds of applicants. It is important that you customize your professional materials so the company remembers YOU out of all the applicants. One way to accomplish this is to make your resume creative or graphically appealing. This is especially necessary if you are applying for a creative position. Another tip is to convey the passion you have for the company in your cover letter. Do your research! Organizations want to hire interns who show interest in their brand.

3) Don’t base your internship search off of paid and unpaid internships.

When the students on the panel were asked if they have had paid internships, every single one of them raised their hand. However, when asked if they chose their internship because of the money, none of them raised their hand. Choose an internship that you think will teach you the most, give you the best experience, and that you will enjoy.

4) Make good impressions and put your best foot forward.

You get accepted and it’s your first day on the job. Now what?! All interns on the panel agreed that the first day can be very overwhelming. They advised to take everything in and remember that you are there to learn. It is your first day and your first opportunity to make a good impression at the company. Be personable and introduce yourself to everyone! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, this is your opportunity to learn. Take notes! You are most likely going to be given a lot of information all at once.

5) Complete every task you are given to the best of your abilities.

As an intern, you are probably going to be given some responsibilities that are not exactly what you want to be doing. However, every student on the panel stressed that it is very important to just do it with a smile on your face because it is almost always helpful in the long run. People notice those who are dedicated and hardworking, and tedious or boring tasks can often open doors to larger opportunities.

6) Creating and maintaining positive relationships within the company are important for the future.

Networking can seem intimidating, but is a crucial part of the internship and job process. The students on the panel advised finding something in common with the person you want to network with, or ask them how they got to where they are now. People love talking about themselves, so that is a good place to start. Don’t forget to be personable and to follow up with them afterward with a simple thank you email. Finding a mentor can also be very helpful. Not only does it open doors to their personal network, but it has the potential to be a lifelong and special relationship fostered through your internship experience.

7) Don’t let your fears get in the way of success.

The whole internship process is scary, and it is often students’ first experience in the professional world. It is important not to get caught up in the intimidation of any responsibilities that you might have. If you don’t give it your all, you are only getting in the way of yourself.

8) Remember that you are there to learn.

Try to learn as much as you possibly can during your internship experience, and aim towards being a “yes” man or woman. Obviously don’t accept a task unless you can complete it, but you want to be the type of intern that is hardworking and that will do their best on every assignment. Your internship will not last forever so make the most of it! It is a unique opportunity to learn as much as you can, so take advantage of the resources you are given.

 9) Be open-minded during your experiences.

As an intern, it is important to treat every single opportunity and every single day as a learning experience to figure out what you want to do with your career. Several of the interns on the panel explained that their experiences were helpful because it taught them what they did not want to do. It is good to have a dream job, but as you travel through the internship process, keep an open mind because you might end up loving something you never expected.

 10) Stay true to yourself!

At this time in your life, you are going to be experiencing a lot of change. Throughout the internship process you will encounter all different kinds of people, opinions, and attitudes. The most important thing is that you be yourself and stay true to who you are. It would not be worth it if you emerged out the experience as someone you didn’t even recognize.

Now that you are equipped with these ten takeaways, you have all the resources you need to be successful when you enter the internship process! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and stay confident! You can do this!



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