are really popular in the communications industry, and a student
who has experience as a public relations intern and a good
academic record has an important advantage when seeking
Internships are so important that
it’s one of the six required courses of any high-quality
college or University’s public relations curriculum.
An internship is a win-win situation for the student and
organization. The student, in most cases receives class
credit and firsthand experience of work in the professional
world. This gives the student an advantage on landing that
all-important first job after graduation.
In many cases,
organizations hire recent graduates that interned at their
Although national and international firms routinely pay
interns, this is often not the case at the local level. Many
smaller companies state that they cannot afford to pay an
intern or that the opportunity to gain training and
experience should replace compensation. There is a lot of
disagreement with this.
Unpaid internships severely limit the field of potential
candidates because, the best and brightest students will
always gravitate to employers who pay. A paid internship
enables the students to focus their efforts and maintain
high performance standards, resulting in an excellent return
on any salary investment by the company.
Many large public relations firms have internship programs.
At Edelman Worldwide, for example, students enroll in
“Edel-U,” a training program that introduces them to all
aspects of agency work.
Hill & Knowlton also has an internship training program in
its New York office. Out of an applicant pool of 600 to 700
students they select 40 students. The firm views it as the
cheapest and most affective recruiting tool available.
Of course, it’s not always possible to find an internship in
Chicago or New York. Thankfully, many opportunities are
available at local public relations firms, businesses, and
It is important that the organization has at least one
experienced public relations professional who can mentor a
student and ensure he or she gets an opportunity to do a
variety of tasks to maximize the learning experience.
Gottesman is an experienced public relations executive
with near a decade of work in public relations and publications..
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