Along with being a Junior comes the reality of facing an intimidating topic: finding an internship. This process often feels scary, overwhelming and even hopeless. Searching for an internship sometimes start with unrealistic expectations of needing to find the “perfect one,” but there are some steps students can take to help with the search. In March, the Ole Miss PRSSA Chapter hosted its second annual IMC Connect where students had the opportunity to hear from executives and CEOs from all over the U.S. to further gain real-world advice. Several of the Job Prep Panel speakers offered incredible advice on boosting a resume and may help those struggling to find an internship.
A resume is typically what grabs the employers’ attention first. In the internship application process, resumes are a priority, especially when applying remotely. Resumes should include clubs, honor societies, philanthropic organizations, work experience, honors and awards, hard and soft skills, education and more. Beginning your resume with your strongest asset or most notable experience is essential.
LinkedIn has become increasingly popular among professionals as a social networking tool. Most companies use LinkedIn to connect and review applicants interested in a position. Not only does creating an account help recruiters learn about you, but it also allows you to view information about the company. LinkedIn is a great platform to research the position you are seeking and learn more about your desired job location. Make sure your profile is as professional as possible. An effective LinkedIn profile will enhance and promote your online presence during your internship application search.
“Be Curious!” These two words were mentioned several times during the Job Prep Panel as an encouragement for students to continue learning, seeking advice, meeting people and experiencing life. Being curious can also apply to finding and researching the right companies in order to help with the search process. Deadlines are inevitable when it comes to applying for internships. It’s best to apply as early as possible in order to have the best opportunity to secure an internship. Also, internships can be competitive so early applications often get more noticed by employers. Keep a running list of deadlines for each internship so you can stay organized and know when to expect an answer.
While LinkedIn is important, in-person connections can be more valuable. The Job Prep panelists emphasized the importance of having great communication skills. Leaving a positive impression on a potential employer, as a skilled communicator, is an important goal to set. Being able to meet someone in-person and associate a name with a face is more memorable than an online interaction. Attend career fairs, talk to professors before class, get lunch with an alum from your college. Connections are powerful and essential when applying for internships.
While these are only four of the countless ways to stand out in the application process, these tips can be the starting point for you. IMC Connect has been incredibly valuable to our PRSSA Chapter these past two years, as each member has experienced endless benefits from attending different panels. Internships are the backbone to starting a lifelong career, so choose wisely, don’t get discouraged and stay eager to learn more about the benefits of internships!
Travis Coopwood is a senior integrated marketing communications (IMC) major with a public relations emphasis at the University of Mississippi. This summer, she is interning at Sheridan Public Relations in Franklin, Tenn. She is from Cleveland, Miss and in her free time she loves to cook, write and spend time outdoors whenever she can.