Landing a Kick A$$ PR Internship

Internships can be some of the toughest jobs for which to interview – your experience is limited; you’re new at interviewing; and let’s face it…you’re trying to land a job in one of the most challenging job markets out there.

I’ve been managing the intern program here at SHIFT NYC, and let me tell you…I’ve seen A LOT of resumes – some good, some bad, but very few make me think, “Damn. I want this person working for me!” I’m now here to help you…so keep reading and I hope this post will teach you a thing or two about interviewing for a PR internship!

Making Your Resume Stand Out: Your cover letter and resume are the first things I see – why should I email you to set up an interview and not the other 500 people? I’m going to assume the obvious (proper proofing, formatting, etc…) goes without saying, so here are a couple things to think about when pulling the ‘ol resume together:

  • Include things from your past experience that can be applied to this new internship. I’d rather see that you helped manage a Twitter handle for your school’s athletic department than read about the waitress job you had three years ago. If it takes an extra bullet or two, I say “bring it on!”
  • Highlight positive accolades, promotions, surpassed goals. If someone else thinks you are great too, I want to know!
  • What makes you different? PR is all about creativity and well, in the words of our fearless leader, Todd Defren, being a little ballsy. Have you climbed a mountain? Won a spelling bee? Played a competitive sport? We don’t expect your list of professional accomplishments to rival Bill Gates’ – we just want to know who you are as a person. What makes you tick?

Congrats! You’ve been called in for an interview. You should be thinking, “OK, this is my chance to sell myself – time to show them why they should pick me!” PR is sales…if you can’t sell yourself, how can you sell your clients?

  • RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! I cannot emphasize this enough. I want to hear that you know who SHIFT is. Heck, we’re the DIGITAL/SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY OF THE YEAR! And we sure don’t make that fact hard to find. Read our website, read Todd’s blog and tell me what you make of it all!
  • Be on time. It still amazes me that in this competitive job market, people can still be 5 minutes late. Leave yourself an extra HOUR if you need to and park yourself in a coffee shop near the office to ensure you’re not late.

“Hi, I’m Talia!” (hand reaches out to shake yours). Firm handshakes people – we’re professionals! A floppy hand lacks confidence and PR is all about being confident.

The Interview:

  • Use your resume as a guide, not a script. I can read – I don’t need you to read me your resume bullet by bullet. Focus on your accomplishments and most importantly, what they taught you and how you plan to apply those experiences to your role at SHIFT.
  • Showcase your research. You took the time to get to know SHIFT, so tell me what you think. A question I always ask is, “Why SHIFT? How did you decide you want to work here?” I will tell you right now…telling me you just Googled PR firms in NYC will get your resume a ticket to the bottom of my trash can.
  • Ask me questions. Yes, you are the one being interviewed… but you should also want to know about the agency – the things you don’t find on the Internet. Find out what the job entails; ask about the office culture; heck, ask why I decided on SHIFT! The questions show you have a vested interest in both your internship and your professional career.

Wow. Great interview – I want you to come work with me. Please, I’m begging you…send a thank you note…it can be an email, written note, whatever suits your fancy, but please acknowledge that I, and most likely some of my colleagues, took time out of our busy days to meet with you. Even a couple quick sentences go a long way.

Hope all you eager intern candidates out there found this helpful! And please, if any readers have other helpful tips please feel free to share. Look forward to seeing some kick a$$ resumes and meeting some ballsy future SHIFTERS!

 

1 Response to “Landing a Kick A$$ PR Internship”


  1. 1 Tiarra Earls (@Sweet_Tea85) July 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Great tips! I would also recommend branding oneself by creating a website/blog and being present on social media platforms.


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