Without a PR Internship this Summer? No Problem

By: Amelia Friedrichs, Director of Regional Conference

It’s ingrained into our minds from the very start: without an internship, our chances of job hunting success are slim to none.

But what happens when the summer internship you lined up in December falls through at the last minute? How do you continue your internship search following endless interview rounds, still not receiving the internship of your dreams?

The stress involved in finding internships is indisputable; yet, many students continue to overlook simple ways to make their internship search easier.
I learned this lesson firsthand as I desperately searched for the best summer internship I could find after my chance with the American Heart Association unexpectedly fell through. Devastated and slightly panicked, I went through endless lists of health-related PR positions still available for the summer.

There was my mistake. I was looking for public relations internships – nothing more. Desperate times often call for creativity and an open mind, so I continued on with my search looking for something different.

The fact is, public relations is a mix of everything. From using social media platforms, writing and marketing, to advertising, researching and event planning, chances are the internship you choose, whether your title has “PR” in the name, will incorporate some of those elements into your daily tasks. By widening my search for internships to those not strictly named “PR internships,” I exposed myself to a whole new array of opportunities of which I finally discovered would help me further explore my interests.

Fast forward a few months later, and I am a blood services recruitment intern for the American Red Cross. My job includes managing blood drives, developing marketing campaigns, creating publicity for a number of Red Cross initiatives, coordinating volunteers and educating classes on Red Cross blood services. None of those tasks are labelled specifically as public relations, but they are all components of what public relations is.

In addition to interning with the American Red Cross this summer, I’m also a Penn State tour guide. Coincidentally enough, many tour guides on staff are public relations majors as well. If you think about it, it’s not all that surprising. Guides are expected to effectively appeal to specific audiences and cast Penn State in the most positive light they can. Through their attempts to shape the image of Penn State for prospective students and families, tour guides practice public relations every single day.

With a little creativity and a jump beyond your comfort zone, it’s always possible to turn even the most stressful situations into experiences worthwhile. It is up to you to sculpt the path you want to take. Whether or not you have the words public relations in the title of your internship is not the key – it’s always what you make of it.

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