This post is part of a series of “Lives of New Professionals” guest posts for Progressions.
In the public relations industry, intern experience is typically a vital component to landing an entry-level position, especially at a big agency. If you’re already interning at your dream company, you can take the right steps to make your internship a full-time opportunity.
I landed my dream internship at Burson-Marsteller the summer before my senior year. Throughout the program I was treated just like an entry-level employee. By the end of my internship, I knew I wanted to work there upon graduation, so like any strategic public relations person, I created a plan to stay in touch and secure a full-time opportunity.
Go the Extra Mile and Smile: As an intern supervisor this past summer, I noticed how valuable it is to have a positive attitude as an intern. Our amazing interns were often the lifesavers on our projects, but it was the fact that they did it with a smile that left a lasting impression.
Say Thank You: When my internship ended, I used my media list-making skills to make a Burson contact list. I had contact info and clients for each individual I worked with. I then used that list to write individual thank you letters. Getting thank you cards from my interns this summer left a lasting positive impression.
Stay in Touch: Since I was going back to school, staying in touch until graduation was tricky. I used my contact list as a tracker to make sure I stayed in touch without pestering. On winter break I spent a day in the office meeting with HR, my supervisor and catching up with old co-workers. The in-person interaction was a good opportunity to state my intentions to be a full-time employee.
Build Your Résumé: My internship gave me a solid feel for what day-to-day public relations was like, so back at school I focused on expanding skills I knew would be important to my career. I took a PowerPoint certification course, held a leadership position on the PRSSA National Committee and worked. I was lucky that Burson had an internship opportunity in Washington, D.C., during my final semester, but any relevant experience is valuable to show that you’ve been putting your learned skills to work.
Actively Look for Opportunities: Agency jobs are often created to be filled immediately, based on the clients and their needs. While staying in touch throughout the year is important, one to two months out from graduation is when an agency may know its entry-level needs. About two months before graduation, I started soft-sounding opportunities for an entry-level employee and was thrilled there was one. Two weeks after graduation I started full time and have loved it ever since.
By maintaining the relationships and expanding on the skills you learned, you could turn your dream internship into a dream full-time job.
What is your dream internship? What steps will you take to turn it into a dream full-time job? Share in the comments below.
Jessica Noonan is a client executive in Burson-Marsteller’s New York Corporate Practice. She currently is a member of the PRSA New Professionals committee and is an alumna of American University’s PRSSA Chapter. Follow her on Twitter @jess_noons.