Last semester, I wrote about taking the initiative to discover doors full of opportunities. I’ve applied that mantra to several aspects of my life since then and have discovered that mustering the courage to take that first step can lead to many directions. This semester I wanted to challenge myself by securing an internship, but I had no idea where to begin. I knew it would be difficult for a freshman to get an internship let alone an interview, but I took the initiative and not only have secured one, but two internships this semester.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Follow your passion: I live and breathe fashion on a daily basis. I’m no Eva Chen, but I keep track of trends and constantly read style articles. While I might not know how to write the perfect pitch letter, I knew my knowledge and interest in fashion would my biggest assets.
Save those Contacts: I save all of my contact information from networking on an Excel sheet with the person’s name, email address and a quick note about them such as where we met or something we had talked about. I saved the contact information from a speaker that I had met last September and wrote him an email about my interest in interning, which proved to be a smart move on my part.
Speak Up: The wonderful part about having friends is that they are always there to help. Speak up to your friends, professors and peers, asking if they have any ideas or contacts they may be able to share. I spent two weeks asking every person I know if they had any ideas—not one of them turned me down.
Do Your Homework: Before I went for an interview, I made sure to research the company to get a general understanding of its background, goals and reputation. Interning should be taken as seriously as working a job; it’s a big commitment and a lot of work. Also, it is useful to take the time to practice answers to questions before interviewing and have friends give feedback.
Believe in Yourself: Easier said than done, but do not sell yourself short. You might not have a lot of professional skills under your belt, especially if you are a freshman like me, but the skills and lessons you may have learned from sports, summer jobs or campus clubs can be used to your advantage. Make sure to include those activities on your resume.
Every year, different groups of people from across the nation look forward to the Academy Awards. Commonly referred to as The Oscars, this award show recognizes achievements in the film industry, as well as those who have contributed to nominated works. Although the purpose of the segment is to award exceptional works in cinema, the program has recently drawn viewers who are more interested in which celebrities attend, their outfits and who the host will be. As a result, promotion of the award show has taken a route that appeals more to those who are drawn in by these elements, focusing on celebrity personalities rather than nominees.
This year, comedian Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting. Known for her humor and good nature, DeGeneres has become a household name in homes across America. She previously hosted the Oscars in 2007, and it would appear that public reception was positive due to her second offer. In order to successfully promote The Oscars, the show needs to appeal to the expectations of viewers on all levels. One way to do this would be to hire a host already valued by those who plan to tune in. Although it has become almost tradition for some to watch each year, if the host falls short of capturing viewers’ attention, the segment may receive poor reviews which could affect the tone of next year’s show. Therefore, by bringing back successful hosts from years past, the likelihood of high viewership increases.
In order to successfully promote the show—focusing on DeGeneres as the host—the network must craft advertisements that highlight what makes her funny. Her dancing, singing and overall sense of humor are the centerpieces of each promotional clip, not nominees. In one of her videos she notes the “side effects” of watching the Oscars, which include laughter and “critiquing women in beautiful gowns.” In others, she talks about how it’s her second time hosting while flexing her comical vocal and dance abilities. Again none of these personal traits directly relate to the film industry, but it attracts viewers.
So I have two questions for you all—will you be watching the Oscars this year, and why?
Last week, a professor of mine organized a panel to speak to the class about internship experience. The panel was comprised of
upperclassmen studying public relations who also held enough experience to try and advise future interns. They each had great advice for fellow students of public relations looking for their first internship.
To begin the discussion, panelists discussed smooth navigation of the interview process:
A common consensus was that the first internship is the hardest to get. In order to be successful, hopeful candidates must do their research and be persistent. Furthermore, the power of networking should never be undermined and may very well lead to getting your foot in the door. Make use of contacts that you have made as they are there to help you. It is wise to start building a network of trusted professionals now, as you’ll likely never be in a place with this many future public relations professionals and journalists again. Years in college are crucial because your classmates may very well form the foundation of your contact list. Above all, panelists stressed that capability is crucial. Connections and contacts can only help those in a position to be helped. In other words, if you can’t get the job done, why would they help you get it in the first place?
After wrapping up advice on how to successfully prepare for an interview, speakers advised on how best to succeed inside the interview:
Walking into an interview without some specific knowledge of the company is a mistake that is all too easy to make. Taking the time to research the company’s culture, clients and mission may end up being the difference between getting hired and never hearing back. However, research and preparation shouldn’t lead to entering the room with a script. Being yourself and sounding confident are important because if you sound rehearsed, the interviewer will be able to tell. After the bulk of the interview is behind you, it is good practice to ask questions since employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in the tasks they will have you perform if hired. A final important detail is to follow up with the person who interviewed you with an email, phone call or hand-written note. The more personalized, the better; but don’t overstep boundaries of appropriateness.
Final bits of advice from the panel focused on how to succeed once you’ve been selected as an intern:
Once you’ve been hired by a company, it is necessary to begin to understand the corporate environment that you have been placed into and how to interact with fellow interns and superiors. If you end up feeling the pressure on the first day, this is normal. It is important to remember that everyone starts somewhere, and not to freak out as long as you adapt over an appropriate period of time. Keeping this in mind, it is important to ask for help when you need it. Your superiors cannot read your mind, and should not find out that you needed help after you’ve already messed up an assignment. When receiving advice, take notes so that your boss won’t have to repeat what they have said. Internships are designed to introduce you to your field of interest, and you should gain valuable experience from them. Dont bother your boss, though, to the point where they are unable to work efficiently. Additionally, it is important to keep networking in mind when getting to know the other interns at the office. They can become your future network, and you make the most of this opportunity.
After receiving all of this valuable advice, the class felt more confident to start searching for internships. The process can be very competitive, and it is important to utilize the advice of those who already have a foot in the door because that’s exactly where you’ll want to be.