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Sometimes You Have to Kick Yourself in the Butt

To achieve greatness, sometimes you need a little kick in the butt.

  • Steve Jobs was fired from the company he started before returning to create the iPod, iPhone, etc…
  • Vera Wang didn’t make the U.S. Olympic figure skating team before she became queen of wedding dresses.
  • J.K. Rowling was a single unemployed mother before she introduced us to a certain scarred wizard.

But, what happens when life doesn’t cripple you with hardship? What happens when everything seems to be accelerating forward… but in a direction somewhat askew of your dreams?

Upon graduation, I had a steady part-time job at a rapidly expanding call center. I knew that if I stayed, there would be many opportunities for full-time and possible management positions. I also knew that if I decided to stay, I would be deferring (or possibly eliminating) a career in public relations.

To help me decide, I had to think about what option was going to provide me long-term happiness/success. At the call center, I would probably be able to achieve success rather quickly and I’d probably be able to move out of my parents house which is what I really wanted. However, I don’t think I would be as happy in the long run and the skills learned there might limit future opportunities. If I chose to pursue the public relations route, I would have to leave the call center all together to take the PR internship at Western Digital. This would put the plans to move out on hold until I could land a full-time job sometime after the summer. With the long term goals in mind, I decided to take the risker path and, so far, have had no regrets. It was a difficult decision, but the greater the risk, the greater the reward, right?

Some advice to those in similar situations: follow your dreams and while it’s ok to modify your goals, be sure you’re thinking of the big picture. When life doesn’t give you lemons, sometimes you have to plant your own dang lemon tree to make some sweet lemonade later on.

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3 Tips to Help You Land An Internship

With three internships under my belt, I’d like to consider myself to be somewhat of a professional intern (LOL). With this pompous/self-appointed title, I’d like to share some things that have helped me out and might be beneficial to others.

Two of my intern gigs were unpaid social media positions and the most recent one, which I’m still working at, is a paid public relations internship. I started interning in the fall of my junior year in college. After speaking with a few successful PR pros, I discovered that the earlier I was to get experience in the field, the better off I would be. I also was advised to seriously consider unpaid positions because finding a paid one would be very unlikely given my level of experience (which was zero). After about what felt like 100 applications (which was probably closer to 20) I became very discouraged. At the time I was working nearly fulltime at a call center and the thought of taking time off to work for free felt ridiculous. With the advice of a professor, I decided to check out Craigslist to look for smaller companies that just needed some a few hours of help per week. Note: Most of the posts on CL are unpaid. Sometimes they’re a little sketchy so use your best judgement as to which ones sound the most legit. I managed to find a startup daily deals website (similar to Groupon) that was looking for a social media intern. One item on the job description that caught my eye was that the work could be done from home. I quickly shot over my resume and cover letter and within a few days I received a call asking for an interview. The company was brand new and while there was some general direction, I really had to work and research the best practices for their social media accounts. TIP #1: Be proactive. If you see an opportunity to learn something new, take it, even if you have to learn it on your own. (Think: Will this benefit me in the long run? Will this look good on my resume?)

My second intern position was discovered in a completely different way. I knew that I needed an internship (this was in the Spring and end of my Junior year) and was casually searching for a new position but there was no intense job hunting going on. One day I was in the car and was listening to KPCC, the local public radio station, and thought, “hey, it’d be really cool to work at KPCC. I wonder if they’re hiring interns.” Once I got home I checked their website and what do you know, they were! TIP #2: Always be on the lookout for opportunities and be creative in how you search for positions. After submitting my resume/CL, I received a call and and interview and was hired on-the-spot. It was a great experience and I even got to see many of the radio personalities face-to-face. Work-wise, I learned a lot about social media and there was more structure to this internship and I was able to really build my portfolio here and even pitch ideas to station executives. 😀

My current postion is at a tech company, WD. Being a paid intern, there is obviously more work to be done, but that’s what makes it great! I love learning new media-tracking programs, building media lists, sitting in meetings and learning how a global brand operates. I found this position the easy way: through my school’s career website. Just finding the position is only half the battle though. I submitted my application and went two weeks without hearing back from them. After reading a really great post on internmatch.com about following up, I decided to send an email just asking them if they’d received my application. In that email, I attached my resume and cover letter. I received a response from the HR department saying that the postion had already been filled. At this point, I had submitted more than 40 applications in a two month span  (this was Spring of senior year and graduation was quickly approaching) so I wasn’t too discouraged with this news. HOWEVER, about 2 days after that rejection email, I received a call from another HR person asking to set-up an interview with me! I didn’t dare bring up the rejection email and agreed to the interview. I really credit that follow up email as being the determining factor as to why I scored the interview. The three interviewers all said that they saw my resume and instantly knew they needed to bring me in for an interview. Had I just accepted that I didn’t hear back from them, they would never have seen my resume and the job would have gone to someone else. Tip#3: ALWAYS follow up. Recruiters/HR managers are flooded with applications and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Standing out is critical to landing a job/internship.

 I hope some of these tips help you as you search for an internship/job. Let me know of any tips that helped you!

Hello there, I’m Ryan.

I’m a Public Relations student at Cal State Fullerton. Welcome to my blog where I’ll post updates about my journey into the PR field as well as posts about life in general (because I’m soo self-enlightened, right?). My personal interest include: social media, tea, public relations, vegetarian cooking, and marketing. I read a lot of blogs covering an array of topics and most some of them are pretty dull. I understand that PR is a business industry and when it comes to companies dishing out big bucks to fund our campaigns we should take things very seriously, but with a little effort we should be able to get our “serious” messages across in a way that is fun and interesting as well. This will be my attempt at just that. Enjoy!

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