Hunter Allgor, Assistant Executive Director (VP)
As a developing communications and media professional, it is essential to work internships to round out your college experience effectively. Not only do summer internships provide talking points on a resume, but they also allow students to apply the skills they spent months learning in the classroom to real-world projects. When competing with thousands of students for highly coveted jobs at PR/AD agencies and other such businesses, these experiences can truly set a candidate apart from the crowd. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have had their crucial summer internships cancelled due to safety concerns. If you are feeling a bit lost after an internship cancellation, there are a few options you can try to ensure that you are remaining productive and enhancing your skill set this upcoming summer.
Take an Online Course
One effective use of your free time is to take online courses taught by professionals working in the industry. (The best part of the online format is that the courses can be taken from anywhere: even the beach!). The topics of these courses range from technical expertise, such as Google Analytics or the Adobe Creative Suite, to soft skills sought after by employers, such as public speaking. Penn State even provides its students with free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers thousands of different courses on numerous topics. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity at http://www.linkedinlearning.psu.edu!
Read Up on the Industry
There are a huge variety of books and trade publications that relate to the communications industry. These can be helpful in increasing your knowledge or even just learning about some of the unique ins and outs of the professional world. Many even include passages or articles written by extremely well-known figures within communications and marketing. Consider grabbing the latest edition of Ad Age or PRWeek and spending the day reading it outside in the sunshine.
With everyone working from home on their laptops, there has been no better time to reach out and begin networking via LinkedIn, Facebook, and email than now. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an alumni or someone in your dream position to ask for career advice or a resume review. In most cases, they are happy to help and may even guide you to a future internship/job!
Create Your Own ‘Internship’
As small businesses nationwide struggle to find their footing during the current pandemic, there will certainly be no shortage of organizations that would appreciate free assistance with their communications management. Reach out to some local businesses and nonprofits in your area to see if they could use social media content or press releases. Not only will you be helping to support your community, but your ambition and entrepreneurial attitude will look great to future employers!