As our 2017 summer internships come to an end, we asked two of our interns, Katie Dillon and Mariana Esquer, to write about their experiences of working in PR in New York City and what recommendations they would give to students looking to the same.
Dear prospective summer intern:
You’re probably currently staring at your computer screen wondering how to start your job search. We’ve been there and we want you to know everything’s going to be okay.
This summer, we interned at Cognito. While there, we learned so much about the industry, New York and ourselves. We want you to be prepared so for your convenience, we’ve crafted tips and tricks from our time at our financial PR internship to help you in your job search from your first round interview to your start day. This guide covers your job search for any PR firm, the logistics of to moving to New York City and how to succeed during the internship itself.
Landing the ‘ship’ & getting to New York
When you begin your job search, it’s definitely intimidating to try and utilize connections to get your foot in the door. However, it is not always what you know but instead who you know, so don’t be nervous. There are many ways to connect with people such as messaging connections through LinkedIn, attending networking events in your city or ones put on by your school and reaching out to recent graduates from your school that work at companies you are interested in.
Once you’ve made some connections, you will begin the application process. Make sure to adjust your resume per each application so that it reflects the industry of the job and matches the job requirements. If the application process includes sending your resume via email, then you have the opportunity to showcase your personality and aptitudes in your email. When preparing for your interview, do your research on the firm and its clients so you are ready for any questions that come your way as well as so you’re prepared to ask questions. If you know your interviewer in advance, look them up on LinkedIn; it won’t hurt to search for a common interest or personal touch to discuss in your interview. And remember, sending a thank you note (handwritten or via email) goes a long way!
Moving to the city? New York housing can be expensive but there are affordable options if you search them out. Check the availability of empty college dorms during the summer. Ask a college alum or someone you know if they know of any apartment openings. When getting to the city, make a bucket list of restaurants, museums and activities you want to explore and make sure to have fun! And the subway? It can be intimidating at the beginning but you’ll figure it out eventually. Trust us.
During your PR internship
When you start your internship, don’t be afraid when you’re assigned a project you’ve never tackled before. In your role as a PR intern, you’ll probably come across media lists and pitches. Media lists are usually Excel spreadsheets that include contact information for reporters in top tier publications adjusted for your client. Media lists and pitches will become your best friend. Also when pitching, don’t be concerned if you get stuck on what to write. Don’t be afraid to ask for help especially when you get writers’ block. Always remember to be curious and ask questions!
PR is a busy industry but you may occasionally have some down time. It’s always good to be proactive and do a lap around the office and see if anyone needs support on tasks or even do some research on your clients and industry trends. Reading the news is a great way to catch these trends that could benefit your clients and also keep you up to date. Outside the office, attending industry events can boost your own knowledge and you’ll be able to tie what you learn into your day-to-day tasks.
We were lucky to have such a fun, creative, welcoming office and got to know our co-workers professionally and personally. Wishing luck to all future interns!