Landing an internship your freshman year of college is never easy. Everyone (myself included) comes into college with the world at their fingertips and a very optimistic outlook- as they should. It comes as no surprise that when the spring semester quickly arrives and it is time to look for an internship, many students, especially communication majors, are expecting to land their first one. But at the first glance of many applications and job descriptions, students may become discouraged because companies like to see experience (obviously). This brings up the mind-numbing, century-old question all COM students end up asking themselves; “how do I get experience, if I can’t get a job?” Well, I wouldn’t be discouraged quite yet. The answer lies within the world of networking.
I remember trying to find an internship online through CareerLink. I was very optimistic, and I expected to go to New York and intern at NBC or Vogue or something (it was a long shot, I know). I was quickly brought back down to Earth when I realized that I have neither the experience nor the connections for any internship of that caliber. But instead of giving up and going back to my high school summer job, I decided to take action and start networking. I started with the people my family and friends knew, and it took off from there. I began my networking spree in March with companies throughout Massachusetts. From there, I made my connections. One person would give me the name of another and that person would then give me the email of somebody else. It was exhausting, but also exciting talking to all of these people who just wanted to help me get a summer internship.
My connections eventually led me to an internship at Riemer Communications. My mother’s friend is very close with the principal and founder of the company, Amy Riemer, and I was lucky enough to work with her directly. Amy became my mentor and taught me everything I know about public relations in the field thus far. I could not have asked for a better experience.
I remember the feeling of discouragement when looking for an internship freshman year, and although I was fortunate to land an amazing internship and take advantage of a wonderful opportunity, I owe a lot of it to my connections and to my networking skills. Not only did it help me find a summer internship, but it also taught me skills about how to talk to people I don’t know, how to conduct myself during an interview, and also how to keep in touch with people who may be able to help me in the future. These are all very valuable skills that I will be able to maintain and improve upon for the rest of my career in public relations, and I would encourage everybody to take full advantage of the world of networking.