Once you start taking upper division classes in college, you start to realize that just a college degree probably won’t guarantee you a job after graduation. Breaking into the advertising/marketing/public relations industry (there should be a word to describe all of this!) requires experience. It requires you spending your time working for a company and not getting paid for it. It requires internships.
So how do you land that first internship when you have nothing to list under “Professional Experience”?
— Talk to a career adviser: Most schools offer career advising services. Talking to these advisers will let you know what to expect when communicating with employers and going on interviews. They will also assist you with perfecting your resumes and cover letters.
— Utilize your school’s career services: Most schools have programs where employers can post job listings. Search through the listings and you will most likely find many different positions that you can apply for. Send your resume to numerous companies — you have nothing to lose here!
— Join organizations and hold positions you can learn from: Join organizations that coincide with your major/industry. For example, at UT we have TAG (Texas Advertising Group) and PRSSA. If you are in organizations that doesn’t necessarily coincide with your major/industry, run for positions that do. For example, I am in an organization at UT very similar to a sorority. Alone, this would not be beneficial to put on my resume, so I ran for the position of “Communication and Promotion Chair”. This position involves running all social media for the organization as well as maintaining the website. Voila! Now my participation in the org coincides with the industry I am trying to break into.
Landing that first internship will probably be tough, but once you have that entry-level experience, it gets a little bit easier from there on out. And once you’re interning, make sure you learn as much as you can while you are there to make your experience as valuable as possible.