As someone who has worked in three different agencies and witnessed the hiring process change and develop during the past three years, I wanted to offer some advice to those applying for internships with public relations agencies. To properly disclose, this post is based on my perspectives, as well as those in my network. This is by no means absolute scientific, but I noticed some incorrect perceptions from current students.
Here are some of the most important things students applying for agency internships should understand:
- Seniors only: Many midsize and large public relations agencies will only consider your application if you are a graduating senior. This is probably frustrating for sophomore and junior overachievers, but it’s important to keep in mind. That said, some agencies may offer you an internship before your senior year if you have previous agency experience.
- Number of applicants: Large agencies in major cities will probably receive nearly 1,000 applications for internship positions. It’s rare than an applicant who simply submits a résumé to an agency’s website will get the job. The single most effective way to get your résumé on top is to know someone within the company. Don’t be afraid to reach out to employees on LinkedIn and Twitter and begin building a relationship.
- Length of the internship: Because so many people are applying for agency internships, agencies are lengthening internships to six months. If you are planning to work for an agency after graduation and you are moving to a new city, it’s important to know how much you will be making before you sign a lease for an apartment.
- Hours: Most agencies will guarantee 40 hours, and some internships will require overtime. Think of the overtime as more opportunity to demonstrate your skills.
- Salary: Most agencies in big cities will offer $10–$15 per hour, and agencies in smaller cities tend to offer less. Some agencies will not offer any salary at all.
- How to get a job after the internship: Work hard; keep a positive attitude; remember the details; repeat the next day. Most companies, if they have the business, will offer fulltime positions to interns if they work hard and are well liked by colleagues. As an intern, you are not expected to completely understand strategy, but if you can demonstrate a willingness to learn and an insatiable curiosity for understanding the work, you will succeed.
Do you have questions or anything to add? I would be happy to offer advice in the comments section below.