For years, National Conference has been a great way for students studying public relations to interact with professionals from all across the country. The connections you make by attending can even help you land an interview for your dream internship or job. But before you immerse yourself into the Conference setting, where you will spend days networking with distinguished practitioners, it’s important to know what it takes to land that internship.
To aid you in your preparation for Conference and future work opportunities, the National Conference Committee compiled a list of qualities often desired by employers and other communications professionals.
Employers detest when interviewees don’t know details about their company. One common question employers ask in an interview is, “What interested you in applying to this company/agency?” Recruiters have said many applicants have no answer to this question or just make up a response on the spot. The chances of a company hiring an applicant who isn’t knowledgeable of the business are low.
At a conference by University of Florida’s student-run firm Alpha Productions, Bonnie Hayflick, owner of Bonnie Hayflick Public Relations Counsel and public relations director at The Hoffman Agency, mentioned how important it is for job candidates to have substance. Employers want to know the applicant is knowledgeable and can be left with a client and have a meaningful conversation with them. This is made easier when you are an avid consumer of news and are knowledgeable of how world events impact the marketplace.
Above all, be yourself. Don’t try to say what you think the interviewer wants you to say. They can tell when you are faking it. If you are the outspoken type, don’t hide it! Professionals may remember you for just that. If you’re the quiet type, a simple way to get over the fear of conversation is to ask them about themselves. Questions about how they got into their profession and industry can lead conversation naturally.
To be a successful job candidate at National Conference, research companies that will be at the Career Development Exhibition and have knowledge of each company’s mission and clients. Also, be aware of current events and the latest industry trends so you can discuss their impact on the industry. Lastly, come as your best self and be ready to network with some of the top professionals in the industry!