Friday, May 4, 2012

Be Aggressive. No, Really.

Getting an public relations internship, or any internship, is not an easy task. I've been there, done that and been rejected. But, I didn't let the rejection, or lack of experience, deter me.

And now I have an internship.

Getting my interview was a minimal, two-step process:

1. Informational Interview: I setup an informational interview, which doubled as an informal job/internship interview. At the end of the meeting, I was offered an internship opportunity, starting closer to the summer (I conducted the interview in November or December).

2. Follow up: I made sure to keep in contact and follow up about the internship offer at a later date. I also lucked out--I needed to job shadow for a class project and this contact allowed me the perfect follow up opportunity.

The process above is extremely simple, but still calls for you to be aggressive. Of course, there is a fine line between persistent and annoying that you need to be mindful of, but you can't be scared to be proactive.

Do not bombard your contact with multiple phone calls and emails. Start with an email, give him or her enough time for a response and then call as the follow up.

A great example: I sent my contact an email and waited two weeks for a reply. Two weeks seems like a long time, but really it's nothing in a busy PR person's schedule. The second week, I thought about following up with another email, but decided against.

And I'm glad I did.

The third week, my contact emailed, apologizing for the delay. She had been out of the office the previous week because of an emergency.

When setting up an informational interview, be flexible. This is the key to getting an interview. Odds are you're going to have to switch up your schedule to fit your contact's schedule. Do it. If there's only one time they can meet, make it work. This shows you're willing and eager--two traits that will take you far.

So remember to be aggressive, but still proceed with some caution. And each situation is different, so you need to be flexible and adaptive.

Best of luck on the internship hunt!
- Jasmine

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