By: Sarah Ombry
Starting out as a freshman in the PR program at MSU, I had no clue what opportunities awaited me. The advice everyone had given was the same: internships, internships, internships. Now as a senior, I’ve realized the importance of exploring your internship options. Learning about the different areas of public relations through real life experiences is one of the best ways to get insight into what interests you in the field.
One of the best things I found about working in-house is that you end up knowing the organization inside and out. It’s extremely rewarding if you’re working with an organization or company that you’re passionate about and dedicated to. For example, I’ve always been interested in working with arts and cultural organizations, so the internships I had with arts organizations were interesting, fun and beneficial. When interning in-house, you have the opportunity to really specialize; you learn the distinctive style and voice the communications for that industry and are able to apply it often.
One of the best benefits I realized with government communications is that you have a very captive audience. Constituents see the government as a reputable source of information so there is a lot of engagement, especially on social media. As the voice of an authoritative organization, you also learn to craft your message clearly and concisely. Having an internship with a government agency allowed me to get good feedback on these kinds of messages from people who had great PR experience. Government agencies also handle something not easily taught in the classroom: crisis communication and management. They are looked at to solve problems frequently, so there is a lot of opportunity to learn this area of PR.
In agency life, there is never a dull moment – you get to learn a lot about different industries through working with different clients. Because different clients have different needs, interning with an agency also can really help grow a writing portfolio. There also tends to be a lot of collaboration in agency work, so having the experience as an intern allows you to meet a lot people in the PR industry. This can give a lot of great networking opportunities and can potentially open future doors.
When looking for internships, be sure to take the time to explore your options. Learning the pros and cons of each aspect of PR through different internships really solidified the area that I now know I want to work in. There are so many opportunities in the field of PR, so take the time while still in school to learn about what’s out there.
A great way to connect with employers and learn about internship opportunities is through PR Links, part of the ComArtSci Connect career fair. It’s coming up on Friday, February 19 so be sure to do some research and check out the employers that will be there!