Coping With PR

Public relations life lessons from a student who is still in the trenches.

Don’t lose your cool…or your portfolio April 6, 2007

Filed under: helpful tips,internship,interviewing,Kent State Public Relations — copingwithpr @ 3:41 pm

PR Life Lesson # 345

         Alright so I promised in my last post to update you on the internship situation after I got back from spring break.

          Let’s take stock shall we? Internship interviews: 2; paid positions: 0; number of attempts it took me to actually get back on to I-60N after one of my interviews: 3; internship offers: 2; positions excepted:1

          The entire interviewing process was a great learning experience, but it was stressful. I interviewed for Congressman Jason Altmire’s district internship in Aliquippa, Pa., and I interviewed for a position with Salem Community Hospital in Salem, Ohio.

           The two lessons I learned were keep your cool and don’t lose your portfolio. I unfortunately wasn’t calm and cool during this process. I frantically prepared for the interviews. I read local newspapers, press releases and background information. I left two hours early for my appointments…just in case. (I’m still not sure what emergency could occur that I would have needed two extra hours for. Even if I got attacked by ninjas on the way and had to buy a new suit, I still would have been on time.) For the record two hours is too early. I think an hour would be more than enough time.

        I got in the interviews and all my research flew out the window. They asked questions I wasn’t expecting. No matter how much you prepare, you’ll never be able to guess all the question you will be asked. So prepare as much as you can, but stay calm. Answer questions openly and honestly. That way when you’re at the internship it can be a positive experience (instead of you frantically trying to learn all the things you promised you could do in your interview).

The other lesson was don’t lose your portfolio. I spent hours creating a professional hard-cover portfolio. Something that I could proudly display during interviews. I get into my first interview and they immediately asked if they could keep it. (It cost about $25 and I had another interview in three days.) Now in my head I said no but somehow my lips said, “Of course.” So I lost my portfolio. The lesson is be prepared to  say no or lose it. I lost it and made a new one. A great way to avoid this scenario is create both a permanent portfolio and a leave behind. That way you can say, “You can look at my full portfolio and this is yours to keep.”

I am pleased to say I excepted a summer internship with Salem Hospital.