Get Experience!

8 04 2009

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before you’re probably thinking. Everyone knows that having “real world” experience is essential to landing that dream job after graduation. But a lot of students have been telling me lately that they can’t get an internship or experience because of the recession. I have three responses to those claims.

1.  Never use the word ‘can’t’. I learned that during my many years of gymnastics and I still follow those words today. 

2.  I think those claims are wrong. I have found a lot of internship postings. While a few firms have cut their summer interns, others are continuing to hire interns and some are even more adamant about hiring interns in this down economy because there are less expensive to train.

3. You should consider looking for experiences on your home field, your university and community. Look to resources like your on-campus PR firm and your PRSSA chapter. My university also has student PR jobs through our student body and on our student-run newspaper. If you don’t have these options at your university, you should consider asking departments, student clubs, Greek organizations, local non-profits, etc. if they would like free help with a PR project. If it is the first out of class PR work that you are going to do, I suggest asking a professor or mentor to review the work that you do to make sure that you are on track.

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A lot of people tell me that they won’t work for free, and I think that is a big mistake. Many of my PR experiences in college have been for free and led me to paid internships. All college students are busy; you are not alone. Even if you can only do a few hours of work per week, I assure you that you will be better off. Working with on or off-campus organizations will help you build your resume and more importantly your PR experiences so that you can adequately compete for an internship that will then lead you to a solid entry level job.  

Don’t let your fear of the economy slow you down. Sure it’s bad, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your career goals. Charge through the recession confident and you will come out victorious. Good Luck!!

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One response

8 04 2009
nicklucido

As the Chapter President at MSU, I hear that pretty often, too. I think the real reason why people think they “can’t” get experience is they don’t want to. Wanting to be successful in PR means you have to be extremely proactive. It might seem weird to put it this way, but I think this is just natural selection working in favor of the industry.

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