13 Ways to Land your Dream Internship in Marketing, PR, and Social Media

Summer time is here! In Texas this means hot summers, ice-tea, swimming pools, and barbecue. It also means lots of student and graduates are looking for internships. As resumes fill my inbox, and I find myself dispensing advice more often than usual, a blog post on the topic seems fitting.

1) Re-do the Resume – As a student, I never understood it. My resume looked JUST like the template provided by the career center. Big mistake! As an employer, I hate seeing such resumes. Tweak your resume for each position. If you can’t take 30 minutes to do that, then don’t consider applying for that position. You don’t want it badly enough.

2) Beef up your LinkedIn Profile -Before you ask your parents and their friends to forward your resume, think twice. Instead, beef up your LinkedIn profile. Now, give the profile address to your network. Make it easy for others to help you find your dream job.

3) Tweet Tweet – If you want a job in PR, Marketing, or Social Media, you need to be on Twitter. And, I don’t make sweeping generalizations like this easily. Twitter is faster than the API. You need to have an account and use it responsibly.

4) Clean up Facebook – Facebook has no privacy controls – only the illusion. Don’t fall for it. If something isn’t meant to be public, don’t put it on Facebook. Yes, employers do check your profile. Yes, they can access your account even if you think it isn’t public.

5) Reach out to the CEO – This may be tougher at big companies, but small to mid-size companies often have their CEO in the limelight. Often people don’t reach out to the CEO because they think he or she wouldn’t care. On the contrary, it makes quite the impression. Just be respectful of their time.

6) Build a Portfolio – A portfolio is not just for designers. If you write, I want to see writing samples. If you want to be a community manager, I want to see samples of you engaging an audience.

7) Cater to the Job Description – This is the #1 mistake I see applicants making. Do NOT send a canned cover letter and resume. Employers can see through it. If the job description asks for a detail oriented person, address that in the cover letter. Don’t substitute perfectionist for detail oriented – they are not the same thing.

8) Be Willing – Flexibility is an asset. Are you willing to work from home? Are you willing to take an unpaid internship to prove your merit? Times are tough; are you willing to be flexible?

9) Fine tune your Attitude – This is an issue I often see addressed to the millenials, but I think it applies across the board. It does not matter how good you are at your job, if your attitude sucks – you won’t keep a job. Millenials/Gen Y/Gen X – The world owes you nothing. You want something? Work for it. Show that you can make a difference, and don’t give up. Baby Boomers – You always have something to learn. A younger boss or colleagues? Treat them with respect. Your qualifications don’t allow you a bad attitude.

10) Showcase Loyalty – This is tough to find these days, but good employers know how to spot it and value it. I know employers who won’t even interview someone if they have moved jobs too quickly in the past. It isn’t always about the money. Countless studies show that people may take a job for the money, but rarely stick to it for that reason. In fact, it ranks well below a good  environment, challenging work, and potential. Like a company? Stick it OUT!

11) Attend Local Networking Events – If you live in a major city, the chances are that there are multiple marketing related groups. Attend their events. Don’t rely on your career center. Get out there and network. Be kind, ask intelligent questions, and let people know you are looking.

12) Create Business Cards – You don’t need a job to have a business card. Create some for you – the individual. This is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Here is a video on how to create a good business card.

13) Educate yourself – Marketing is a changing field, and an amazing one at that. You have to keep up. There is no reason why you should walk into an interview and not know what an RSS feed is or why geo-location is hot. There is no excuse for a lack of education. Your employer will give you real world experience, but you need to educate yourself.

Want to help someone looking for a job or an internship? Feel free to share this post. Have your own tips to share or questions to ask? Share/Ask away!

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27999126@N05/
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  • http://frankieis.me/ Frankie De Soto

    Great tips, I for one was able to get an internship last semester in social media because I was able to show my employer my online presence in the various social media platforms as well as my ability to be creative by recording myself on Youtube talking about my skills and enthusiasm in working with social media. He was very impressed and I got the internship.

  • http://www.shelleygeorge.wordpress.com Shelley George

    Thanks so much for sharing your advice. I recently attended a CIPR event called ‘Getting Started in PR’ where undergraduates and graduates were given similar tips on launching their career.

    I’ve made a summary of the advice given on my blog: http://wp.me/pV50x-b, which I thought might be of interest to others viewing this post.

    The tips you’ve mentioned and the ones I received at the CIPR event helped me to secure a Graduate Placement in PR, so I know they work! Thank you for the help.

  • http://www.businesscards.com Mike

    Good advice. Yes, watch your Facebook postings.

  • Anne

    Great tips! thanks for sharing this information…

  • Pingback: The Search for the ‘Perfect’ PR Internship | PR+Social Media For Dummies()

  • Kim

    I have a great idea on how to get the attention of the CEO of an agency I want to work for. Can you help? Please email me so I can send you the details…


  • Karima Cannada

    i liked Russel Heisel comment

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  • Margarita Tobon

    Shama, where is the video on how to create a good business card? Can you share the link please :)