Thursday, September 24, 2009

So, you want to be an intern... Now what? Part 1: The application process


Why should you listen to me? I have been the internship coordinator at Ron Sachs Communications for nearly two years and during that time I’ve hired and managed more than 20 interns. To be honest, I didn’t always know what qualities to look for, but along the way I’ve come to learn exactly what makes the perfect intern applicant.

Many employers rate internship experience as one of the most important criteria in selecting a new hire. You can even pay some companies to find you an internship. For only $750, Intern Abroad will place you in a position. But why dole out all that cash, when you can score a spot on your own?

Timing is everything

Don’t just apply when you feel like applying. Find out when the company you’re applying to is actually looking to hire. This will help keep your e-mail out of the “abyss of forgotten intern applications.” The internships we offer at Ron Sachs Communications coincide with school semesters and we begin interviewing a month before the beginning of the new semester. This is the perfect time to apply!

Its important to follow up, but don’t be a stalker about it. A polite follow-up e-mail to check on the status of your application is plenty. Several calls and voicemails are too much, so don’t over do it.

Creating a complete application

In an application e-mail, I always like to see a cover letter, resume and writing samples. Including your availability is also helpful; that way I know if I can work you into our office schedule. Sometimes I’m looking for a specific time to fill, like Tuesday or Thursday, for example. Of course, your experience and writing samples matter, it’s just helpful to know how much time you can dedicate to your internship.

Make your resume relevant
Try to keep your resume to one page. I think it’s best to pick and choose the most relevant experience you’ve had.

You shouldn’t include summer or high school jobs like your position as a grocery bagger or a babysitter for your neighbor, since those jobs probably didn’t give you much PR experience. If they did, explain how.

Remember to highlight scholarships or awards you’ve received. It’s important to document all of these honors because it tells me you are dedicated to school and would therefore be dedicated to your job.

Extracurricular activities matter
Look for opportunities to get the experience you need to stand out. Set yourself apart from the other applicants by being involved in clubs or associations that provide opportunities for professional development.

Your church or temple may need help writing their newsletter, your sorority may need to ramp up new member recruitment or you can volunteer to work on a political campaign if that interests you. You can pretty much turn any of your hobbies or clubs into opportunities. Everyone needs PR, even if they don’t know it.

, PRSA and AAFT are all professional organizations with student chapters you can get involved in. Student newspapers like the FSView and the FAMUAN are other great ways to build your portfolio.

If you’d like to apply for an internship at Ron Sachs Communications you can e-mail your application to So, go ahead and start working on building your resume because I’m always on the look out for those few stand out applicants to join the Ron Sachs team.

Coming up in my next blog, I’ll talk you through the interview process and give you tips and tricks on how to knock the socks off your interviewer.


Ivette said...

Great post Erica. I think this will really help students get a grip on the internship process!!!!

Zoe Sharron said...

Thank you, Erica, for this blog post. As I plan to submit my resume to Ron Sachs Communications, this post was very helpful. I will keep reading to learn more as you update!