Internships are vital for getting your foot in the door. Just because you’ve studied for more than a decade to eventually get your degree doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to a full-fledged job the moment you graduate.
The harsh truth is that most agencies aren’t going to hire fresh graduates with no experience, but they are always on the lookout for interns. So you may have to bite the bullet for 3 – 6 months in an internship before you can even dream of getting your name cards printed – and that’s ok!
So, take it from me, an intern turned full-time exec at Mutant – you need to stand out.
No boring cover letters, please
The first step to writing a good cover letter is to differentiate yourself. Don’t follow wikiHow’s tips on how to write a cover letter and ditch the boring and formal language that so many people write in.
Hiring managers receive tons of resumes every single day so you need to impress them right off the bat. If you’re going to write in the exact same way as everyone else, chances are the manager won’t even bother to look at your CV.
PR agencies look for people that can write well, and creatively. So if you’ve got the skills, why not show it off in your cover letter? It is after all the very first impression that you will make on your potential employer.
TIP: Get started on writing that killer cover letter here.
You need to show the agency why you should be considered for the job. Telling them that you’re enrolled in the relevant degree is great, but so will everyone else.
In a competitive market, the need to stand out is stronger than ever. Employers don’t necessarily look solely at grades but also at other external activities or communities you may be involved in.
Prior to Mutant, I had a couple of finished personal projects and a previous internship under my belt. This included my short digital video creation stint with Youtube x SK-II, being a suggested user on Instagram and 5 months in an e-commerce startup.
The more activities or projects you’ve done, the more you’ll have to show and talk about in your CV and interview. Even if you’ve never worked in PR, the relevant experience in those projects will show employers your interest and passion for the field.
TIP: Start with something simple, like freelance writing.
Tailor your application
Don’t blanket send! I applied for many internships and jobs at various PR agencies and their specialisations ranged from lifestyle, startups, tech, healthcare…and the list goes on. I didn’t send them all the same CV and cover letter. Instead, I tailored each one to make it more relevant to the specific job description and the business.
Tailoring your job application to the business will show the agency that you’ve done your research and have interest in the position.
Do your research
This is a no-brainer. Simply take 15-20 minutes out of your day to go through the company’s website, social pages and profiles of who will/may be interviewing you (I said ‘may’ because sometimes you won’t know who will be sitting in the interview).
Because agencies usually have their case studies up on their website, it’s just like an open-book test. Reading through them will help you think of interesting questions to ask during the interview.
This is something I’ve done across various interviews – and to the interviewer’s pleasant surprise, they said they never expected someone a junior to do that much research.
Bottom-line, it honestly isn’t that hard to exceed expectations. It’s just 15-20 minutes of research. Do it. Don’t be lazy.
Ace that interview
If you’ve secured that interview, congratulations! The next step is to ace it.
Doing a couple of rehearsals beforehand and thinking of some good questions to ask will help you get ready and feel more confident. Remember, interviews are not just for the employer. They are also a great opportunity to learn more about the business and if you see yourself as a good fit. You can also find out about the job opportunities available for you after the internship.
Landing a PR internship is the first step, the next, is to dominate it. Stay tuned for the second part of this blog, where I will share my secrets on how to turn a PR internship into a full-time position.
So, have you got what it takes to be a Mutant? Visit our careers page for more information.