Becoming the Intern Guru [National Conference Recap]

Vice President of Career Services Sarah Dougherty with Intern Queen Lauren Berger at the PRSSA 2016 National Conference.

Vice President of Career Services Sarah Dougherty with Intern Queen Lauren Berger at the PRSSA 2016 National Conference. Photo courtesy of Sarah Dougherty.

Session: Become the Intern Guru

Presenter: Lauren Berger, Intern Queen

Recap:

Lauren Berger isn’t called the Intern Queen for nothing. During her college years she completed 15 internships. Don’t worry though, she reassured the audience you don’t need so many to be successful. She’s just, as she so lovingly puts it, “psychotic.” Berger describes how a call from her mother, who was convinced you need internships to be successful, set the stage for her career. After a discouraging trip to the career center where she was told no one would hire a freshman, she did what she believes is something many public relations students do: “FIO,” or Figure It Out.

Berger landed her first internship by cold-calling an organization she wanted to work for. This was something she was told never to do, and therefore, had to — a common theme in her presentation. She landed the internship by following up immediately with a polished resume..

Berger paused here to share a few tips: always send an email right after the interview, and follow up with a handwritten thank you note. Thank them for their time, reference something discussed during the interview and reiterate your excitement for the position. While not all of us will get our first job at US Weekly by finding Ken Baker’s card on the floor, we can all take Berger’s advice: put yourself out there, reach out to people you admire and spell out what you want.

Takeaways:

  1. Stay in touch with your contacts (internship bosses, professionals you’ve networked with, etc.) three times per year with a simple email to maintain the relationship.
  2. Tailor your resume to each position you apply for. Make sure keywords from the job description appear in your resume.
  3. Send a cover letter even if it’s not required. It’s your chance to connect the dots for them, especially if you’re applying for an internship somewhere other than where you live.

Elsa Embler is a senior at California State University, Fullerton studying public relations. She grew up in a small town in Germany and aspires to work in international, corporate or entertainment public relations. Find Elsa on LinkedIn or at her website.

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