How to Get an Internship at a PR Agency

By Posted in - Professional Development & Public Relations & Raleigh PR Agency on June 13th, 2012

Our intern Erin Kelley not only landed an internship here at Clairemont – she also wants to share a few tips with you on how to do the same! Isn’t she sweet?

This could be your desk, too!

In the public relations field, internships are crucial for networking and eventually landing your dream job. Since I went through the internship process recently, I thought I would share six easy steps that helped me find my place at Clairemont:

  1. Research: Searching through massive amounts of internship postings and websites can be stressful and overwhelming at first. If you’re doing a Google search, try to narrow it down first by location, then by interest. Just from my experience, your best bet is networking. Don’t be afraid to connect to public relations agencies through social media! I actually found out about the Clairemont internship program from then-intern Margot Horgan’s post on the UNC Public Relations Facebook page.
  2. Understand the application process: Unless an agency specifically states otherwise, it is usually a safe bet to include your cover letter in the body of the email, with your resume attached. Employers may also want writing samples from past internships or class assignments, so choose from your best work! I usually include a news release and then something that shows my creative side, like a feature story or design project.
  3. Cover letter: The purpose of the cover letter is to go into depth about important experiences or previous internships that you couldn’t fully explain on your resume. You’ll also want to throw in a sentence or two describing why you would be an asset to the company. Always include a cover letter, even if it isn’t mentioned – it can’t hurt!  
  4. Resume: It wasn’t until this past year that I learned that your resume, specifically the relevant experience section, should be tailored to each position. For instance, if I were to apply for a nonprofit internship, I would highlight my work with the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina; however, for an agency position, I would include my experience as PR director for an on-campus organization.
  5. Email: The worst mistake you can make with an email is the dreaded typo or grammar mistake. As I learned in my public relations writing class, you can never rely on spell check! Sometimes it’s best to whip out the good ol’ AP Stylebook. Other than that, just be professional yet personable when explaining your interest in the company and past public relations work.  
  6. Follow Up: Arguably the most important part of the process is maintaining communication with the agency. I always make sure to keep a record of when I applied, sent writing samples, talked with them, etc., so that I can stay in touch and provide any information they may need.

These are just a few tricks of the trade that I used this past year when searching for an internship. Overall, the key to securing a PR internship is perseverance and a bit of luck!



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