My First Internship

I did some brainstorming over the weekend and came up with a few post ideas for this week. By all means, keep the ideas coming, because this well is going dry.

Looking back to my sophomore year, I was inspired to load my resume with impressive practical experiences. That year, my PRSSA Chapter was officially born, and our PRSA liaison visited with us during our first speaker meeting.

I remember her telling us she did an internship every summer until getting a full-time job, giving her four internships to leverage. From that point, that’s where I set the bar. Having spent the majority of my summer following my freshman year in Ireland, I knew had some ground to gain.

Another boost to my ambition, I made the trip to San Francisco for my very first national PRSSA event. I was so impressed with everyone. I knew I would have to do some pretty amazing things if I wanted to stand out.

Without too much knowledge of resume drafting or interviewing and a limited understanding of public relations, I spent a lot of time doing research. I spoke with seniors, picked professors’ brains and Googled something to the extent of “Interviewing for Dummies.”

A senior helped me find a perfect opportunity in Little Rock with the Arkansas Twisters — an Arena Football 2 team. The only relevant experience I had at that point was a semester of being my university newspaper’s sports editor. That coupled with a few awards, an impressionable interview and a name to drop was a enough to get in my foot in the door. I would have to drive 80 miles each way without pay, but I had an internship.

 

Arkansas Twisters
Arkansas Twisters

Working under the Ticketing Director and Media Relations Director, my responsibilities during the week included distributing pocket schedules to businesses, group ticket sales, getting the stadium “game ready” and showing off visible signage to sponsors.

My responsibilities on game day kept me running around Alltel Arena for hours — picking up food from Hooters (woot), setting up VIP rooms, helping man the inflatable bounce-house, selecting fans for on-field promotions, dressing them in sumo suits, relaying stats to media, escorting the mascot to birthday parties and retrieving game balls from the locker room if our quarterback threw away too many souvenirs. I carried a walkie-talkie and took orders from across the arena. It was madness.

We made a few community appearances that summer which went over great. Our mascot led the torch relay through the city for the Special Olympics and two players spoke during a fifth grade graduation ceremony.

Wanting to stand out from the other interns, I put together a POV at the end of the season for a College Night promotion, considering giveaways, fitting sponsors and in-game promotions.

I came away with a lot of insight on what I liked, what I didn’t and what I wanted out of my next opportunity. I updated my resume with my first experience in marketing. I also packaged my work to create my very first online portfolio. I was on my way to meeting my goal.

~how to apply this post~
I hear students talk about how difficult it is to get a first internship. “How do I get a first job if everyone is looking for an intern with prior experience?” I’ve heard it a million times.

What worked for me is having something relevant to put on my resume. Granted, being the sports editor of a newspaper wasn’t a 100 percent match to what I was applying for, but I had something to make my case.

I also knew someone who held the position before me, which gave me an opportunity to name drop.

I did research before I started applying. I knew quite a bit about the team and its history before I came in for an interview. Even though I didn’t have all the marketing experience, I made myself an expert.

More than anything, I was persistent to follow-up after the interview, and I let it be known I was more than willing to travel 80 miles each way without pay just for the experience. I wanted to be a student of their business.

Take what you can out of this entry, and make it work for you.

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One thought on “My First Internship

  1. *Thumbs up* I like this post. I remember that year because you were also still at PDQ. :) (Good times.) I never understood how you were able to keep up with everything and still remain healthy. LoL! But you were an inspiration to me – at the very least not to give up. However, keep in mind that any time you want something (especially in a career) you have to be willing to give up LOTS of other things in life. It’s not always easy, but you are proof that it can definitely work out in the end.

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