Networking is essential for any career. However, for PR, networking can be everything. It could be your future “in” at a job, it could get your resume to the top of the stack or even just give you the opportunity to get in contact with a friend of a friend. The Washington Post had a fantastic article that gave simple steps on how to network for people who hate to network. Here are the people you should be staying in contact with, even if you don’t plan on seeing them very often.
- Your supervisor at your internship
- Your supervisor has been in the game a lot longer than you have. That means their connections are better-developed, stronger and more diverse than your rolodex. Keeping in contact with them could lead to bigger and better career opportunities! And remember, if you want a letter of recommendation, ask before it’s too late!
- Your informational interviewer
- Now is the perfect time to get your foot in the door and make your name stand out from other applicants. After an informational interview, send a hand-written thank you. These types of small gestures can make a huge difference and helps put a face to a name.
- Your professors
- Having a mentor who knows the ropes is invaluable in the real world. Your professors have heaps of experience that they’re more than willing to share. Don’t let their knowledge go to waste! Even if you’re just shooting a quick email every so often, they’ll remember your name when an opportunity arises.
As my internship comes to an end, I’m grateful for all of the networking opportunities I’ve had in the last few months. Don’t be afraid of looking for networking events, such as those listed on the Portland Business Alliance webpage. Maybe you’ll meet the someone who could change your whole career path.
Having an internship is an amazing experience that allows you to gain so much knowledge that will carry you through your career. But what happens after that internship?
During the last half of my internship, I find myself feeling anxious when people ask what my plan was after my internship/graduation – more anxious than previously. I blame this on the fact that graduation is in less than a month.
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I am working 20 hours a week at my internship, and I have been spending probably 10 hours a week searching for jobs. I have interviewed at multiple places and applied to countless amounts of jobs. I realized after interview #3 and application #4985792 that some companies are actually out there to use recent graduates.
The best thing to do is trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. The Balance wrote a great article with tips on how to tell if a business is a scam. The ones I thought were, ended up being scams when I did more research.
After my experiences of just seeing a job posting and apply without any research, here are my tips.
- RESEARCH: do research on the company before you apply. Glassdoor is an awesome website that I have been using for every company before I apply.
- INTERVIEW: even if you don’t think it’s a great fit and they’ve offered an interview, just do it. You don’t have to take the job if it’s offered, but it will be great practice for when the right job comes along.
- TRUST YOUR GUT: I can’t express this enough. Your gut is very trustworthy and if something doesn’t feel right, listen.
Internships are full of obstacles both big and small, but one of the trickiest things in an internship isn’t something you can simply work past. It’s evaluating your level of success. I don’t mean the number of projects you’ve worked on or how many friends you’ve made, although those can be important in other ways. What I mean by “evaluating your success” is “figuring out how good you actually are at your job, from your supervisor’s perspective”, but that’s a little wordy.
In the first couple weeks of my internship it was hard for me to tell if the work I was doing was actually up to par or not. I was completing my tasks to the best of my ability, but unlike with college courses I wasn’t getting any grades to base my next attempts off of. Over time though I’ve found two strategies that work well together to help me get that crucial feedback.
- Review your work with a coworker.
- Directly ask for feedback
Neither of these are groundbreaking pieces of advice, but what makes them important is that not doing either can result in you not receiving any feedback at all. Articles from the PRSSA and Linkedin both speak to the importance of these moves, but I’ll sum it up here:
1- Going over your work directly with a coworker allows you to ask more targeted questions, and can prevent them from, while alone, simply skimming your work and shooting it back to you with a “looks good champ.” Also, building this kind of mentor relationship will make it easy to get consistent feedback in the future.
2- While it is important to be tactful in the office, that does not mean hinting at the fact that what you really want is for someone to be honest with you about the quality of your work. Instead of saying something like “What did you think of my last report,” it is far more effective to say something like “What should I change about my last report.”
Coworkers often have something to share, you just have to initiate correctly!
This is a question I have been asking myself for the last week, as my internship at a weekly newspaper comes to a close in a few short weeks. There is little chance of being offered a paid position here, as they have a pretty small staff and don’t retain many staff writers. It’s now becoming crucial for me (and many of my fellow PDXSX-ers) to figure out what the heck we’re going to do after the program ends. Here’s some of my strategies:
Make sure your resume is up to date before you start applications
This is one of the easiest ways to help demystify the process of applying for upcoming positions. I recently was in the midst of an application when I realized that I hadn’t added my current position to my resume. Having to stop and do this distracted me from the application and is one of the main reasons I still haven’t finished it.
Make time to apply for future jobs/internships
This can be challenging. You’re busy with your current internship, and if you’re working another job like me, up to 60 hours a week can be devoted to your current positions. It’s important to block out a few hours whenever you can to work on applications for upcoming positions. They can be surprisingly time consuming, especially since you have to write a cover letter for each one, and maybe even answer short essay questions.
Ask your superiors for letters of recommendations before your last day
If you want or need a letter of rec from your current supervisor, it’s a good idea to run this by them ASAP, so they will have plenty of time to work on it. This way you’ll likely get it from them before you leave the company, so it’ll be a much easier process than trading emails.
As new professionals learning to prioritize is crucial to our success. Many of us are currently interns which mean we have a hard time saying no to new assignments especially when our plate is already full. I want my new employer to know I have a can-do attitude but I also don’t want to provide poor results because I’m overwhelmed. Mastering prioritization can help you shine at your internship and help you manage your tasks.
Always ask for a time frame
When you have a specific due date it makes prioritizing tasks easier. The Entrepreneur suggests that you “prioritize everything as A, B or C, as follows:
Priority A: Critical things. Anything that has to be done right away or something important will go terribly wrong.
Priority B: Business as usual. Everything you have to do to meet your short- and long-term business and career goals.
Priority C: Everything else. Busy work, organizing, wants (as opposed to needs), nice to haves, and goofing off (95% of what you do online)”
Physically make a list
I find that writing or typing a plan for the week really helps me knock out my tasks. When I can visually see what I need to do I’m more productive. There’s nothing more satisfying that crossing or highlighting something off your to-do list. Forbes also suggests that you focus on one task at a time rather than trying to work on multiple things at once.
Invest in a planner
If you haven’t done so yet go get yourself a fancy adult planner. This will help you immensely on organizing your time and tasks. Again visualizing what you have to do will really help you. Also, a planner can help you keep track of due dates and future meetings.
Let’s face it, we college students can use “bizarre” lingo that only makes sense to us. We use words that we hear from songs, social media and other trendy influences. For example words like “lit”, “extra” and “boujie” aren’t usually understood by the common person. In college what we say is language that our peers comprehend because we are similar in age. However, entering the workforce, we are surrounded by people of varying ages. When I first started at my internship, I felt like the outsider who didn’t understand what my boss was communicating to other employees during meetings.
After about two weeks, I began picking up on the corporate language that she would use. Nothing felt foreign to me and it helped knowing what some office lingo meant after reading Alexandra Levit’s They Don’t Teach Corporate in College.
It’s been about six weeks into the internship and I have been noticing myself using office jargon when I talk to coworkers.
For those of you who are interested in expanding your corporate vocabulary, The Office Life offers some business jargon that can be found in The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary. Yes, apparently that is a thing. But as they say, in order to walk the walk, you have to talk the talk.
In J410, the SOJC Campaigns course, all public relations students are expected to submit a portfolio and schedule a review. Despite being in Portland, I am not an exception to these requirements.
However, I have found a silver lining. Through my internship, I have been able to ask for work that I feel will benefit me and my portfolio. If I have a chance to get my hands on a project that is visually interesting, I’m even more excited to finish it. While a PR portfolio is usually text-heavy, I still enjoy displaying my work in a visually pleasing way. The PR Daily has a great article that focuses first on text components and then on visual.
Organizing your work is a huge part of a portfolio, digital or physical, and helps a potential employer get an idea of what your transferable skills are. If your portfolio is aesthetically pleasing, chances are, your work will be too. Brian Conlin, a marketing professional for Cision, wrote an article on ideas for PR professionals to show their more creative side.
While interning at a nonprofit, I am able to wear many hats. While a dedicated Public Relations position might not have me doing as many different types of projects, I am still able to showcase my ability to be flexible and diverse in my work through my portfolio. A portfolio is also the time to showcase the work you are most proud of, whether it is an earned media piece or a social media design. With a major as open-ended as Public Relations, students should be looking forward to the opportunity to try their hand at new programs, ideas and experiences. I truly believe that your portfolio should show your potential, not limit your options for employment.