On the Hunt for an Intern

It was a cold February morning as we briskly walked toward one of the most exciting events of the year: The Missouri School of Journalism Strategic Communication Career Fair.

As a previous Mizzou student, I vividly remember this event – a coveted day for juniors and seniors in the strategic communication emphasis area.

As our team of CGPR “recruiters” passed the line of bright-eyed students in their best business-professional attire, waiting for the fair to start, I couldn’t help but smile. They were excited. They were hopeful. And most of all, they were prepared.

As a strategic communication student, your career will likely involve crafting messages and helping sell a company or brand, so knowing how to sell yourself is vital. If you’re making your career fair rounds this spring, here are our top tips for bringing your A-game and snagging an internship in PR:

  1. Short-and-sweet resume. As a college student, your resume should be one page, easy to read, free of typos and contain only information that sells you as an employee. For example, if you’ve worked a restaurant or retail shop, how would you apply what you’ve learned from that job to public relations? Did you treat your customers as clients? Were you ambassador for the brand? These are things that will position you as an experienced critical thinker regardless of the fact that the job wasn’t in PR.
  2. Key characteristics. Eagerness and enthusiasm. Confidence and poise. Willingness to work and learn. A go-getter. These are the characteristics we look for in a candidate, but how does one showcase that in 60 seconds? Are you prepared with copies of your resume and writing samples? Do you have an elevator speech?
  3. Show your personality, and smile! We know first impressions are important, but being yourself and having fun shows us who you are. Finding someone who meshes well with the Common Ground team is one of the most important things we consider when hiring an intern.
  4. Ask questions. We will know by the questions you ask whether you’ve looked at our website or social media platforms. Come prepared to ask two or three thoughtful questions about our work, what we do, a specific event we worked on or a blog post on our website. Those questions show us that you not only take this seriously, but you also value our time.
  5. Send a thank you. Regardless of how long your conversation was or whether you’re interested in a position at our company, sending a thank you note after a career fair or interview is noticed and remembered. (And keep that in mind down the line, as you never know when you’ll revisit past connections in the PR industry!)

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