Courtney Moats did what public relations students dream of doing: she was hired full-time for a company after completing that company’s internship program. She is now an assistant manager for Chevrolet Communications, following her time as a Chevrolet Communications intern. If you’re looking to snag an open position after the internship of your dreams, Courtney has five tips to help you succeed.
1. Have great interpersonal skills over a variety of mediums.
Any public relations student should be able to write a great email or cover letter. What will really make you stand out is your ability to communicate through other channels—phone, video chat and face-to-face. Moats said her ability to Skype professionally while showing her true personality impressed her bosses the most.
“Anytime you can make that face-to-face connection with someone, that really helps solidify a relationship,” Moats said.
2. Practice your writing skills for all mediums.
The importance of writing well cannot be stressed enough. A public relations student should practice both informal writing for blogs and formal writing for media pitches and press releases. It is a skill that you will use every day, so if you aren’t comfortable with it yet, start writing.
3. Constantly look for opportunities to grow and improve throughout your internship.
Never get complacent. Internships are the perfect time to grow your skills and take on new tasks, but you have to show that you are eager to learn.
“I wanted to completely shock my system and learn as much as possible,” Moats said. “The best way for me to do this was to force myself into uncomfortable situations.”
It may make you nervous to try new things during your internship, but if it doesn’t challenge you, it’s not worth it.
4. Show your desire to stay with the company.
Companies will often hire from their pool of previous interns, but they have to know that you want the job.
“It’s important to be up-front with what you want,” Moats said. “They can’t read your mind.”
Expressing your interest in staying with the company also opens the door for your co-workers to give you feedback on your performance. The rest of your internship can be spent turning yourself into the best possible candidate for an open position.
5. Be authentic when networking.
If you’re constantly delivering your elevator pitch like a robot, you’re off-track. What people will remember most is having a genuine, face-to-face conversation with someone. Networking does not have to have a specific purpose or feel like an interview; in fact, it is encouraged for students to invite professionals out for coffee simply to get to know them. It’s rare for a professional to say no if you’re genuinely interested.
“People like sharing their experiences, and most people look for opportunities to teach and mentor,” Moats said.
When speaking with your fellow professionals, act naturally and make it your goal to get to know them. Showing your true personality will go a long way in showing that you are a good fit for the company.
How will you apply this advice to your next internship?
Bethany Corne is the publications committee leader for the University of Alabama PRSSA Chapter and a digital strategist at the Capstone Agency. Connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.