No Internship? No Problem…for Freshmen

By Taylor Dilley

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With all of the talk about internships from professors, peers, and student organizations, it’s hard not to panic when you don’t yet have one planned. Have no fear, there is plenty you can do this summer to further your knowledge, gain experience, and prepare for when you do obtain that internship.

 Job Shadow

I don’t know about other freshmen out there, but I had no idea the field of public relations was so vast. At this point we should be totally invested in learning about some of the different careers we could follow in the future, whether it’s agency, corporate, healthcare, non-profit, etc. Use this first summer as a time to reach out and shadow someone in an area that strikes you as interesting. Come prepared with questions about their job and how you could prepare for one like it. You may find you love it or want to explore other options.

 Make Money

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Unfortunately, most internships don’t come paid, and if they do, they aren’t offering much. Head back to the pool and lifeguard for another summer or find a different job you enjoy to bring in a little extra money to save toward your future internship. Who knows, you might just make enough money this summer to buy a plane ticket or rent an apartment in a new city for next summer.

Learn New Skills (and brush up on old ones)

Nothing is more beneficial to your success than a well-rounded skill set. Learn how to code a website. This is incredibly relevant in our field. Sites like codecademy.com teach basic tools for free! Spend time researching subjects you enjoy and want to know more about, such as social media or media relations. Read inspiring books. I know I’ll be reading, Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler. And it also doesn’t hurt to dust off old skills– you could even break out the old AP Stylebook once in a while.

 Update Your Social Media/Website

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Your online footprint is just as important as your resume. Clean up your twitter feed and update your Facebook “about” section. Make sure to get rid of anything that would turn away potential employers. Speaking of employers, work on your LinkedIn profile and make new connections. Watch WordPress tutorials and design a website. Try to come up with a blogging schedule for the summer and stick with it!

Remember to also take time to relax and unwind from your crazy first year of college. Reflect on what you have learned and what you can improve upon come the fall semester. Hopefully these ideas will help you to prepare to ace the internship search and application process in the future!

Taylor Dilley is a freshman majoring in strategic communication, minoring in marketing, and pursuing a specialization in visual communications. After graduating she would like to work for an agency or in corporate PR. Follow her on Twitter @taylor_dilley!

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