As I enter my senior year as a student at the University of Maine, Orono, I’m proud to have taken on a student internship at Broadreach Public Relations this summer. My college professors are constantly encouraging my peers and I to do internships in our field of study. In today’s job market, being able to have actual experience is crucial. A bachelor’s degree just isn’t cutting it any more. Employers are looking for more than a college degree; they want to see that you have utilized your skills and have experience under your belt.
So for almost an entire school year I searched, I ‘Googled’, I got on Craigslist, I networked, and I sent out resume after resume to find an internship, paid or unpaid. I was determined to be the minority of students graduating college with a job offer, not the majority moving home with mom and dad to work a dead-end job. I had no time to waste and I was unwavering in my promise to myself that I would land an internship, no matter what it took. Eventually, my father met Linda Varrell and Kate Bachman at a business event and told them about my interest in a PR internship. I called Linda directly the following Monday and told her about myself and asked about an internship at her firm. Broadreach didn’t have any kind of program like this in place but agreed to meet me the next month.
In mid-March, I drove four hours from Orono, planning on “winging it” at my interview. When I was asked why I was interested in PR, I was as honest in my response as I could be. Simply put: I am a novice, I have little experience in this field and wanted to experience it first-hand. I haven’t graduated from college yet, so can I really pick a career path now and expect to stay on it forever? I figure that now is the time for experimentation, for trying new things, and for taking risks if it means finding out “what I want to be when I grow up.” Linda made it clear throughout the interview that I wouldn’t be making coffee or filing papers at this internship, I would be working right alongside everyone else and contributing to the projects, research, and writing.
Having just turned 21, I can’t say I’ve ever had a job that involved higher-level reading or writing skills, never mind intellectual brain power. I write press releases, conduct in-depth research, and I’m getting concrete experience in marketing, employee, event, and media communications. Prior to this internship, I had scooped ice cream, been a cashier, done promotional modeling, worked as a camp counselor, and served cocktails in high heels and short-shorts, but never had I had a job that expected me to think on my own, make decisions, and be held accountable for my actions. (Sigh), I guess this is what it’s like to be a grown-up. Maybe this is the real world.
Real world or not, I’m enjoying working in PR so far. I love building and maintaining relationships with clients while helping them achieve more than favorable results. Having an array of clients helps keep work interesting and always different each day. I look forward to learning more about public relations through this internship and positively contributing to Broadreach and all of our clients. I love the responsibility and I love knowing that one day I could be receiving a salary for my intelligence, my education, my creativity, and my hard work.
To those on the search for an internship, don’t give up and good luck!