By Makenna Geiger
Internships are a must have in today’s day and age, and most importantly today’s job market. If you are a college student starting a career in public relations in the year 2018 without an internship mentioned on your resume, most employers will not take a second look. Now that it has come time to select one, there are a lot of hard decisions ahead.
There are thousands of different internship opportunities to choose from each year. Although it may seem like you are making a simple decision, it is important to understand the environment you choose to work within for the next few months, as it will affect the professional and personal experiences you will take away.
In my own experience, I applied for 63 different internship opportunities, both in my hometown and even across the country. However, out of those 63 different possible employers, I had narrowed it down to two - a traditional, big city, agency with a “common” set up, and a non-traditional, small city, non-agency-like, “uncommon,” set up. Right off the bat the, the traditional internship is a “sure-fire,” way to gain experience and excel within your chosen field, in other words, a “safety net.” On the other hand, although a non-traditional internship might seem far-fetched and not worth your time, maybe that “uncommon,” experience will be the experience you need to take your career to the professional level.
In my own experience, I decided to continue with a non-traditional sports internship, where I was the only intern in my department, had minimal in-office hours, but more creative public relations freedom to accomplish my goals.
Although, I was under the direction of the Development Manager of the company, I was given all the freedom I needed to reach my goals. My superior encouraged me to bounce ideas off of her and come up with my own plan and agendas for the project at hand. After completing this somewhat “odd,” non-traditional internship, I look back and feel that this was the best decision for me at this time in my professional career. Although I may not have gotten to sit at a desk or follow strict guidelines in the big city, I was still able to advance my knowledge in public relations, in my own way.
This doesn’t mean a non-traditional internship is always the way to go. I was lucky. So when you are entering the professional world don’t be afraid of an opportunity that may seem “out of the ordinary.” Some might find that traditional internship and thrive, but some might be looking for more of a challenge, more of their own ideas, and maybe even more freedom of expression.
Internships are not going anywhere, companies will continue to offer them and students will continue to thrive within them. Therefore when it comes to traditional and non-traditional internships, it truly comes down to the student and what kind of experience they are looking for to advance their professional public relations career.
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