You spent the summer at your dream internship, working for a huge PR agency in the “Big Apple” and now it’s back to school to sift through the thousands of “intern wanted” posts on Indeed, all while attempting to decipher whether they are searching to teach a future PR pro the ropes or are looking to hire a personal office barista. After leaving an internship you loved and thrived in, the uncertainty of looking for a new position can be daunting. You may find yourself looking for a company to work for that is nearly identical to the last place you interned, hoping to duplicate the experience. While there is a chance you just may have found your niche, you could be limiting yourself of the opportunity to find something you enjoy even more by typecasting yourself in a certain kind of role.
Network, network, network.
We all know the old adage that it’s all about “who you know, not what you know” but this rings extremely true in the public relations world. Name recognition is everything. Going into a job interview with a connection to someone at the company gives you a strong advantage over other candidates. By having different types of internships, you are broadening the scope of your network. Now, instead of just knowing the staff at one agency, you know people in more companies, cities and industries.
Find your niche.
As the time approaches to search for a full-time job, taking the first offer you receive can be tempting. Being more deliberate in your job search, though, can help you find a position that makes you enjoy going to work everyday. By having a variety of internships, you can determine whether an agency is the place for you or if working on an in-house communications team is more your style.
Decide what you value in a workplace.
What’s important to you in a workplace? Do you value company culture, clients that interest you, doing work that helps people or working for a well-known company? These aspects are just a few of things to consider when looking for your perfect fit. The more experience you have with different companies, the more tuned in you are to what you are looking for in a potential employer. Knowing this information can aid in the interview process as well.
Avoid boring interviews.
Not only can having a wide variety of internship experience be valuable to you when searching for a job, a hiring manager may also be very thankful for this in an interview. Instead of listening to you painstakingly try to make one experience apply to 15 questions, you actually have multiple experiences from which you can draw your answers. It makes you seem more well-rounded and keeps the interviewer from snoozing in their office chair.
Boost your resume.
Finally, having more experiences is always helpful when building a resume. You can tailor the experiences you include to the specific job for which you are applying. If you only have one type of experience on your resume, you are unlikely to be hired for a different kind of position.
Ultimately, having only one type of internship limits you and ties you to that type of job. While some job-seekers may be able to escape this, it can be difficult to overcome, especially in booming, big-city job markets. So, while you’re in college and have the opportunity to job-hop every semester, try something new and step out of your comfort zone. You may be surprised at the end result.
Rachel Jackson is a senior studying Communications with a Public Relations concentration at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also minoring in journalism. Rachel previously interned with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and is currently the Senior Managing Intern at Eckel & Vaughan, a strategic communications agency in Raleigh.