All internships tend to be the same. You apply via the required procedure and serve a spring, summer or fall term. But going to college in a small town without reliable transportation makes this difficult for me.
So I looked into interning while home for winter break rather than catching up on sleep. While uncommon, there are companies open to this. You have to reach out. I emailed a select amount of agencies, briefly introducing myself and sharing why my abilities were valuable. One response came from an executive vice president who my mom knew. The company, like many others, did not offer a winter internship. But remarkably, the executive vice president had a position made for me. A paid position.
Never underestimate the power of family connections, or how other connections in your network can provide you with opportunities.
My winter internship was with Edge Marketing, an agency specializing in shopper, consumer and brand marketing. I was a marketing intern and I only had to go into the office once a week. The rest of the time I worked from home.
Winter break spans just one month. Marketing differs from public relations, but there’s a lot you can accomplish in a month and a lot you can learn from marketing. Below are three major ways my non-traditional internship benefitted me.
It provided me experience relevant to public relations.
Realistically speaking, public relations professionals have to know a little bit of everything. Many of my internship assignments involved tracking statistics to understand what a particular audience considers in its purchasing decisions. Similar practices are common among the public relations profession — how are you going to communicate a message to a key public if you don’t have the data to back it up? Sitting in on pitch meetings also helped me learn that while public relations and marketing professionals utilize different tactics to reach objectives, both set out to achieve common goals.
It granted me various shadow experiences.
One reason companies are hesitant to hire winter interns is because they feel that an intern will not get use out of interning during the slow holiday season. But this is far from the truth. Some days in the office, I used the extra time to sit down with executives and diligently observe routine agency tasks.
It enhanced my capability of meeting deadlines.
Business may have been slow, but interning for such a short period of time meant that all assignments given to me had a small window of time to be completed. There was no time to waste. It’s safe to say that I’ll never again have an issue with getting an assignment to a professor on time.
In addition to utilizing the extended time off from school productively, through this experience I learned that you really have to put your best foot forward when limitations are set upon you, even if it means experimenting with the unconventional. It’s good for young professionals to step outside the box. Great things can come out of it.
How did you make good use out of your winter break?
Lucas Dimini is a junior at York College of Pennsylvania studying public relations with minors in speech and marketing communication. He is the president of his PRSSA Chapter. He is characterized by his curiosity and is always looking for a new experience. See what he’s up to next by following him on Twitter, Instagram, or connecting with him on LinkedIn.