February. For many it has been a month filled with showering your loved ones with commercial tat on Valentine’s Day, eating way too many pancakes or trying to make that January student loan instalment last as long as possible. For me, this was not the case (although, the pancakes are yet to come). It has been a month dedicated to securing summer work placements, and much to my surprise.. succeeding!
Last summer I was lucky enough to gain a two-month placement at a communications studio in Bristol. The experience enabled me to learn vital industry skills that went beyond the classroom and module handbooks. After having my first taste of what life could be like once I graduate, I vowed to myself that all my university breaks would revolve around internships.
Which brings me to the impending second-year summer. After realising that I’ll be having six months off university, I knew this was my time to experiment in different PR fields to find the right fit for me. With two placements confirmed, and another in the works, I thought I would share my tips on finding work experience.
LINKEDIN WILL BECOME YOUR BEST FRIEND
LinkedIn is not exactly a students go-to social networking site, but I personally feel like it is our greatest tool. For example, I was applying for an advertised internship that told me to send my application to the firms general email. With the power of LinkedIn, I was able to go that one step further and find the recruiter for the firm’s profile and send my application directly to him. Does it look stalker-ish? No. It shows that you have done your research and care a lot about a placement with them. Don’t forget to make sure your profile is on point though, as it will be the first thing any potential employer/hiring team see.
Like I said before, work experience enables you to experiment. Keep an open mind when you’re trying to find a placement, as you never know what route you’ll want to go down once you graduate, until you try it now. And don’t worry about waiting to hear back from one firm until you apply to the next, because you could be waiting a while. Just get several of your applications out there.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
The Burges Salmon event I went to recently taught me that there are so many PR job role possibilities. Don’t just apply to PR firms from a Google search. For example, NGO’s and charities are always in need of volunteers, and would look amazing on your CV.
PERFECT YOUR COVER LETTER
The cover letter is the first thing any organisation will read when you email them, so make it stand out. Do your research on the company and make your cover letter personal to them. For example, when I applied to my first placement, their website stated their hate for a certain font. So I ensured the text in my email was in a more desirable font, and stated in the subject ‘NO CALIBRE IN SIGHT’.
Hope these tips could be of use to you, and good luck with your search!