Not an Intern this summer? What to do… what to do…

Summer’s in Oregon are the best! Gorgeous days, lots of nearby recreation and a perfect time to beef up your resume with a PR internship.

What? You don’t have an internship this summer? That’s ok. You can still get some experience and make some connections.

I asked some of the PRos I know and here are the best tips:

Lisa Pulliam, Public Relations Manager, Western Oregon University: “Set up a job shadow. Especially if you’re a sophomore or junior and still trying to figure out if PR is for you. Most professionals are more than willing to spend a day or half-a-day with you to give you a taste of the industry. Think you might be interested in political work? Contact a local candidate’s communication director. Non-profit might be your thing? Lots of nonprofits have a PR/Marketing director and nearly all have a Development Director (fundraising). Even if you are interested in an entertainment PR or agency career, there’s someone in your area that does that work. It’s a great way to build relationship with professionals.”

Erica Harbison, Account Executive, Waggener Edstrom (Portland): “Go to the local city hall or your favorite charity organization and see what projects are in the works – maybe an event or volunteer recruitment effort – see if you can help them with PR/marketing. Even if you’re not doing a formal internship, you can get involved with projects on a short term basis – maybe write an article for a newsletter, create flyers to hand out or help them update their Web site. The organization will be appreciative – and you’ve got a portfolio piece to show for it.”

Laura Bishow, Account Executive, Maxwell PR (Portland): “Volunteer!” (pretty basic, huh?)

Other tips:

Set up informational interviews: Contact PRos (maybe even start with alumni) in your field of interest and ask for 30 minutes of their time. A conversation over lunch can give you insight into how to better prepare yourself for a career in that field and again, will help you make connections. After all, PR is all about the relationships you can build.

Keep up on industry news: Read trade publications and blogs about public relations and get the PRos perspective on public relations.

Talk to your profs: Yes, we have connections. And yes, we can help you. I promise.

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  • Laura Bishow

    what a great idea for a blog, kelli. nice job! (hi lisa and erica!)

  • kelseamichael

    Props to you, Kelli, for embracing the blogosphere to share your knowledge with all of us. Can’t wait to read more. I would have to echo what you said about informational interviews. I can’t emphasize enough how important they are – I landed my last internship before I graduated a month after doing an informational interview! They are also great practice for the future. Keep the tips coming!!

  • Nathan

    This looks great, Kelli! Another suggestion for non-interns is to read as much as possible — take advantgae of your extra free time to read one or more newspapers a day (read ’em while lounging outside, of course!)

    I look forward to watching the blog evolve — and maybe even contributing!

  • Jenn

    Hi Kelli!!! The blog looks awesome – thanks for inviting me!