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Networking Without an Internship
There's more than one way to land a first PR job.
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Media Relations
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 by Sarah Smith

Sarah SmithSpeaking as a recent graduate, I know the importance of networking in every industry; however this was done differently across majors.

The education students went through student teaching; the students heading into the medical field went through “clinicals,” and the PR students have to land an internship.

Unfortunately, an internship isn’t in the cards for every hopeful PR professional. Whether it be finances, a family to support, or the need for summer school, an internship isn’t always possible for those wanting to make it in the field of PR. However, it is possible to get ahead without an internship. Networking is extremely important, and while an internship is probably the best way to get that networking experience, it’s not the only way. Consider a few alternate ways to network before landing that first PR gig:

How to Network Without an Internship

Social Media
– This is becoming the number one way for graduates to network in every industry. LinkedIn is probably the most popular platform, but Twitter, Google+, and even Facebook can still be beneficial. If an internship isn’t in your sights, it’s important to utilize these networks as much as possible. Make sure you’re staying on top of the PR trends and sharing information (much like this website!) to show that you are involved in the online PR community.

– If there is ever a PR seminar or conference you can attend, this is a great place to network. Even if these seminars come at a cost, it will be far less than having to quit your job for an unpaid internship. Make sure that you go to the seminars trying to meet people. Introduce yourself, participate in discussions, and be prepared to ask questions.

– If you’re still in school, ask your professors if you can do a mock interview. Chances are your professor was once in the field of PR, so they will know what kinds of questions and answers are important to employers.

PR Communities
– Most colleges and universities have groups for every major. Find the PR group at your school and get as involved as possible. Although this will take up a bit of time and come with responsibilities, you will likely get opportunities to meet guest speakers or visit a PR agency. In addition, it will look great on a resume.

Call up an Agency
– Many PR agencies will be happy to help in any way they can. Call and see if there is any way you can volunteer or help with an event. If you tell them you’re hoping to get into the field, they will likely be happy to help.

The most important thing to remember is that if you want to work in the field of PR, you can make it happen. If you can make an internship work for you then you’re in good shape, but don’t be discouraged if that isn’t in your future or you graduated without having an internship under your belt. You can meet someone through another medium.

Sarah Smith is a writer and marketer for Calvin Klein Underwear
retailer, Chonies. She also writes for various blogs and PR
communities giving young entrepreneurs and graduates advice.

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