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COMM/PUBR Internships - Finding an Internship Site

Searching:

Seeking a location to complete your internship requires a bit of perseverance and and a bit of determination.  Afterall, it is your first experience in the job market.  Communication Studies does not "place" students in internships because we want our majors to have a trial run at the job search before they get to graduation.  Finding an internship is great practice for the efforts you will make in seeking that first real job.  But we have some advice, support and resources for you that should make finding a valuable internship easier.

If you are here and starting to look for an internship site, but you haven't completed the steps on the Internship Planning page, STOP! Go back. If you have been to the Wackerle Center before planning and talking with your COMM advisor and the Internship Coordinator, you risk making the process more difficult or focusing on an internship that doesn't work for your major. 

1.  The best time to complete your planning and begin searching for an internship is the semester before you intend to actually work at the internship site.  For summer intermnships that means starting to search over Christmas or in January for highly competitive internships.  For most students March is the time to get serious about the internship search - perhaps at home during Spring Break or Easter Break.  But even if you don't have a summer internship set by the time spring semester is over, don't panic.  It is not unusual for internships to get finalized until early/mid May, perhaps not until early June.  For internships during the school year, try to make arrangments during the middle or late part of the previous semester. Here are some suggestions that may help you find the best location for your internship.

  • While students often turn first to the internet for job and internship searches, advertised internships typically attract large numbers of applicants and may be very competitive and hard to get.  Further, they tend to be structured in ways designed to benefit the internship site and so they may not represent well what you want to learn or experience.  We have listed some internship search sites on our search page that you can try but don't make web searches the only method (or even the primary method) you use to find an internship location.  Keep in mind, many places that will take on an intern don't advertise but depend on referrals or only have interns when someone approaches them.

  • The best place to start looking for an internship is through networking. Tell people you know that you are looking for an internship and what kinds of things you want to learn about or experience.  If you plan to do the internship in the summer at home, tell all your friends and family at home (and ask them to ask their friends).  You never can tell who may have a contact that could pay off.  A student several years ago found an internship lead from a cousin who mowed lawns. One of his homeowner clients was a manager at a broadcast station.  If you can get internship site ideas from friends, family, recent MC alums, former teachers, etc., you can likely also get a contact name of a person to call.

  •  Another effective approach is to develop a list of organizations in your area that engage in the kind of work you are interested in and contact them to find out if they are willing to discuss an internship. If you are interested in broadcasting it should be easy to get contact information on local radio or TV stations.  If you want experience doing PR work, local non-profit agencies, hospitals, PR ormarketing firms, government agencies and many more locations may have internship possibilities.  As you start to assemble a list of possible contacts, chat with the COMM Internship Coordinator or your faculty adviser to help you identify the kinds of organizations to contact. The COMM Department routinely finds that organizations that don't regularly have internship are willing to discuss the possibility with our students.  It can be hard to get the courage to make "cold calls" asking about internship (or job) possibilities but it gets easier after a few times and it is often well worth the effort.

  • A fourth way to look for internship sites (or jobs!) is "informational interviewing."  This process involves finding an experienced professional contact (for example, the Director of Public Relations at a local firm) in the job field that interests you and asking them if they would be willing to chat with you for a few minutes (in their office or over coffee) so you could get some advice about how to pursue a career in their field.  Note: you aren't asking them for a job or an internship, you are just asking for advice. This makes the conversation low risk for the professional you get in touch with.  Most experienced professionals tend to feel honored when an energetic young person seeks them out to share career advice.  During the course of the conversation you can ask if they know of places for internships.  Even though they may not have one for you, there is a good chance they know some people to contact and this way you can build your list of possible sites with the names of the right people to touch base with.  Ask if you can use the name of the person you are talking with for a referral.

  • If you still seem to be having problems, meet with the COMM Internship Coordinator for ideas and assistance.

2.  Once you have identified some possibile internship locations,  it's time to make contact with them.  While you could make your first contact with the organization by mail or email, it is often a good idea to phone first to see if there are internship possibilities and to determine what person you should address your materials to.  In the phone call, try to get past receptionists or personnel office folks so that you can talk to a person who might be in a position to hire you as an intern.  That way the phone call becomes the start of an interview.  In most cases the internship site will want you to send them a copy of your resume and you need to accompany that with a cover letter (the email to which you attach your resume or in the same USPS envelop you send the resume in) although specific organizations may have other requirements.  If so, follow them carefully.  Once you have submitted an internship application, if you haven't heard back from the organization in two or three weeks (or after the application dealine has passed), make a phone contact to ask if they have received your materials and to let them know you are available for an interview and are still interested.

  • If you are ready for a professional internship, you probably already have a resume.  If not, create one.  You can get help for this from your COMM adviser, the COMM Internship coordinator or the Wackerle Center.  In any case, be sure the resume you send to a potential internship site has been carefully proof read (NO ERRORS) and emphasizes abilities you have that would make you interesting to that organization.  Pass the finished resume by the eyes of a COMM faculty member before sending it.  Check out UC Davis' Career Center for some excellent resources on creating powerful resumes, cover letters and more.

  • The cover letter for your materials should be addressed personally to the individual who will make the decision or who you hope to work with if at all possible.  The cover letter can be brief but it should indicate why you want to be an intern at the organization and what abilities you have that might cause the organization to want you as an intern.  Focus more on how you will fit in with them than on what they can do for you.  Conclude with an indication that you would like a chance to meet with people at the internship site to talk further about the possibilities.  Here are some tips on Internship Cover Letters.

  • Once you have submitted an internship application, if you haven't heard back from the organization in two or three weeks (or after the application dealine has passed), make a phone contact to ask if they have received your materials and to let them know you are available for an interview and are still interested.  Persistent follow ups are usually a good idea (every couple of weeksuntil you get a firm yes or no).  Most organizations want interns or employees who are enthusiastic about working for them.

3.  Once you have gotten a favorable reply from a potenial internship site and a chance to meet with them, prepare for your interview.  Do some research so that you can demonstrate that you know what the organization does.  While you will want to find out what kinds of activities an intern might become involved with (plan some questions in advance), don't come off as someone who's only interested in "What's in it for me?" Be able to explain characteristic or skills you have that could be helpful to the organization.  Dress professionally, bring multiple copies of your resume, and show an enthusiastic and positive attitude.  Remember, the people interviewing you are wondering whether or not you are the sort of person they want to be around and work with for some number of weeks.

 

You may get lucky on your first internship contact or you may have to make many applications, but eventually you will get an internship opportunity and members of the COMM faculty are happy to help..  At that point you are ready to make the arrangements between the Department of Communiction Studies at Monmouth and your internship site.

If you have not already been approved by the department to do an internship, submit an application now.  You can be approved for an internship before you have found a location and you should apply and be approved before you accept an internship offer.

Return to main internship page

 

 
 
 

 

         
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