Best Practices for Approaching Company Representatives at Job Fairs and Other Networking Events 

By Caroline Morelock

A great way to find information regarding potential internship opportunities is to attend networking events offered on campus throughout the year such as job fairs and alumni panels. However, it can sometimes be nerve wracking to approach company representatives. Below are some tips to hopefully make this process a little easier and to make these networking events work to your advantage.

An enthusiastic introduction

Starting off with a strong introduction can clear the path for a productive conversation to follow between you and the company representative. Greet them with a strong handshake, eye contact, and introduce yourself by clearly stating your name so they remember it.

Engage in conversation

After meeting a company representative, do not just hand her your resume and walk away. Your conversation should be memorable to help you stand out from the other attendees. These types of events are great because they give you the opportunity to show the representative who you are without the stress and formality of an interview setting.

With that being said, remember to research the companies in attendance before the event. This background knowledge about the company will give you insight on how you would fit well within the company’s culture. Once you know more about the company, it can act as a guide for conversation. Talking points can include why you are interested in the company, its most recent accomplishment, and how you would enjoy the work there. You can also prepare questions about the company and its expectations, the representative or the interested position.

Ask for a business card

When closing the conversation, leave them with your resume and ask for their business card. By having their business card this means that you will have their contact information to send a follow-up email thanking them for their time. Following up with the company representative is important because it reinforces your interest in the company and lets them know you look forward to hearing from them.

These few steps can help lead you to finding your perfect internship!

For more information, especially for the shy person:

Open Minds and Casual Networks

By Lexi Williams

Upon coming to Elon and learning about the internship program, I was constantly reminded of one thing: always network when you can. I had always assumed that networking was confined to attending networking events (which thankfully, Elon provides plenty of those kinds of opportunities, so please attend). However, last year, I learned that networking actually could be a lot less complicated, and even a bit more casual.

In late December of 2014, I was talking to a long time family friend who is a Broadway producer. We were talking about the upcoming Broadway season. Then, all I said, “I’m hoping to get an internship in New York.” At that point, I was telling anyone who would listen to me about how much I wanted to find an internship in New York, as working in the city (particularly for Broadway) has been one of my biggest dreams since I was fourteen. My friend simply nodded and asked me to send him my resume. Four weeks later, I had an internship. I ended up working for AKA NYC, which is an entertainment advertising agency, whose vast majority of clients are Broadway shows. It was the perfect fit for me. I was able to take the skills I had learned at Elon – creating multimedia content, understanding the public relations and advertising field- and apply them to something I loved so passionately as musical theater. Ultimately, I had a better experience than I could have ever imagined.

I had dreamed of interning in New York City for a long time. By my senior year of high school, I had planned exactly where I was going to intern, and what I was going to do once I was there. If I’m being perfectly honest, AKA wasn’t necessarily on my radar, and I was not keen on the idea of veering away from my plan. In the end, my internship experience went in a completely different direction, and I’m more grateful that it did than I could explain.

When looking and applying for internships, I feel that it’s too easy to get wrapped up in big company names or positions. Through my internship, I learned that it’s best to keep an open mind at all times. I also learned that networking doesn’t necessarily mean handing out business cards to strangers. It can also be something as simple as having a conversation with people you know, who can then help you find options you weren’t even aware existed.

How to Show Off Your Personality in the Application Process

By Amanda Garrity

Filling out internship applications can be tedious — but it doesn’t have to be boring. Getting your information and best self across to future employers is key, and the only way to do so is to effectively showcase who you truly are. Employers are sorting through an application pool of people as qualified and talented you, so what sets you apart?

Here are three tips onhow to best show your personality in the application process:

  1. Kick off your cover letter with an anecdote.

Most people start off their cover letter with “My name is _____ and I’m interested in applying for the position of ________ because _______.” Here’s a tip: Stay away from a stale first sentence like this. Use the first few sentences to tie-in a personal story or passion that makes you a unique (and qualified) person for the position. For example, if you are applying for an internship at lifestyle PR agency, talk about an ad campaign that had an influence on your life. Or, if you’re applying for a job at MTV, share your favorite MTV memory. Be sure to keep this anecdote short and sweet — employers don’t want to read your autobiography; they just want to get to know you a little better. In doing so, be sure to keep your audience in mind; what might work for one company, may not work for another.

  1. Add a personal touch to your e-portfolio and resume design.

Something as simple as the color for your e-portfolio background can tell a lot about your personality. Use this to your advantage. While these materials must aim to look professional, there is nothing wrong with showing some personal flair. The same goes for your resume — but research your employer to ensure she will appreciate it. Use your best judgment in this situation.

  1. Make your passion evident.

Passion, people and persistence: the buzzwords that you should showcase in your application. Passion, especially, goes a long way in the job market. Employers want to know why you (yes, you) want this position. Use this as an opportunity to express why this position would best fit you — not every other qualified college student looking for a summer internship. Before applying to this position, take a moment to sit down and think about what you can offer this internship and in turn, what it can offer you. Instead of rushing to apply, your thoughtful and intentional words will likely make you a stronger candidate for the position.

For more information on balancing personality and professionalism, visit’s-professional-yet-passionate

What to do AFTER the Interview

By: Meredith Stutz
Phew. You did it. The interview is done. Congratulations!
But now what?
Before you start pacing anxiously awaiting that phone call or email update from your potential internship employer, here are some tips for what to do in the meantime.
1. The Thank You Note
Yes, this is still a huge deal. It’s time to pull out that stationary and put it to good use. I am a fan of the written thank you note because it means that you took the time to personally thank your interviewer(s). In a digital age, a written thank you note stands out and shows you care about investing in the company and its people. Now, if email is the only option you have, that’s fine, too. Just make sure you have a thank you note in the mail or their inbox within 48 hours of the interview.
Speaking of the thank you note, what should go in it?
Great question.
Write, to the person who conducted the interview, how much you appreciated the opportunity for an interview. Include specifics like if they provided a tour, introduced you to specific people, or gave you an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, etc. The goal here is to make your note is as personal as possible. Include at least one line about why you should be strongly considered based on their stated priorities during the interview. At the end, include your contact information so they can contact you for any follow up.
2. Networking
Look for opportunities to connect with company employees such as alumni, family friends or by attending public company events.  Also, professional organization (PRSA, SPJ, RTDNA, etc.) events are a good way to learn about opportunities and to meet industry professionals.  Then, you can connect with them on LinkedIn and/or ask for informational interviews, which provide more insight on company culture, business practices and how to best apply.
3.  Keep Looking
Most of us have that dream internship, but it’s important to not put all of your eggs into one internship basket. Check in with the School of Communications Internship Office to continue to seek out internship opportunities in other cities and companies.
4. Keep Focused and Breathe
We’ve all been there. It seems like everyone around you is getting an internship and you are still figuring things out, applying and interviewing. Before you continue reading…take a a deep breath. Whatever the outcome, it will be fine. You are still a valuable person and candidate no matter what happens to the people around you. Just stay focused on the outcome and don’t be afraid to reach out for help and get more internship ideas for this summer and beyond.
The waiting game after the interview(s) can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be your demise.
To recap: Hand write a detailed intentional thank you note, network in appropriate ways, keep expanding your options, and stay focused. No matter the outcome, it will all work out. You are not alone in this process, especially in the Elon Communications Community!
Best of luck!
For more information on what to do after an interview check out these sites:

Music Internships

By: Mack White

It seems people only think of jobs related to the music industry as producers, engineers, and artists. It was shocking to learn that record labels have entire teams of publicists and project managers to promote albums and tours of their artists. If you’re focused on strategic communications, a music business internship is definitely for you. Thanks to the public’s constant desire for live music, the industry requires press releases, interview requests, album write-ups, and so much more. Without a dedicated team of strategic communicators, labels cannot be successful.

If you’re from a media analytics background, it’s no surprise to you that social media is the future. So, you will collect the number of followers, likes, tweets, and other assorted information for each of the artists on the label. The development of social media has allowed for a whole new form of communication between the artist and the listener, and there is still plenty of room to be explored.

People focused on media analytics should also consider a music business internship since music is a recession-free business, as people will always be looking for ways to purchase the latest earworm album they heard on the radio. There are also phenomena like the recent revival in vinyl record sales. No one in the music industry could have predicted the vinyl comeback, so media analytics are essential in choosing the best strategy when an unforeseen phenomena and niche sales area comes into play.

Whether you have a background in media arts, entertainment, new media, or cinema, you have to realize how essential video is as the backbone of record labels, promoters, and so many more music-related fields. Labels are signing artists all the time, and absolutely need help in promoting them to fans of the label who have never heard of the artist. Frequently, this is done through a video introducing the artist, showing them live, and having them talk about the new album. There are so many parts that come into play in the production of a video project, and an internship in the music industry absolutely gives you that first-hand experience in deadline-oriented video production.

The best part about having a music business-related internship is that you get to talk about music with people who are just as knowledgeable of your favorite artists as you are; therefore, it’s so easy to meet and talk to people. Music business employees have to follow music periodicals for their living, so they’re always up-to-date on the latest happenings. You’ll feel welcome due to the ease of conversation since everyone has a favorite artist, song, or genre. And, if you’re someone who says they don’t like music, a music business internship is still applicable to you. As evident by the music industry lately, music isn’t stopping anytime soon, regardless of whatever curveballs get thrown at it.

You may not realize how badly you want a music business internship until you fall in love with the people, atmosphere, and responsibilities. All forms of communication come together in the music business, so look up local record labels, promoters, radio stations, or any place that is all about getting music in the hands (and ears) of the people who appreciate it most; and let your music business odyssey begin.

How to Deal With Multiple Internship Offers

By: Melissa Hanke

Congratulations! You have been offered an internship and you are thrilled. However, you have not yet heard from your dream company and you begin to panic…

Don’t worry! This is a common problem that many students face when applying to numerous internships. Below are some helpful tips on how to approach this sticky situation:

  1. Don’t accept the internship right away.

 If you are still waiting to hear from your top choice for an internship, do not accept the internship from your second or third choice right away. The worst thing you can do is to impulsively accept an internship and then have to go back and tell them no. You don’t want to burn any bridges in the professional world!

  1. Inquire about your timeframe.

Of course state how happy you are about their offer, but make sure you figure out how much time you have to either accept or decline. Don’t feel like you need to accept the offer right on the spot. Instead, be gracious and thank them, but tell them you would like to get back with them. They’ll usually let you know about a timeframe, but if they don’t, you should respond within at least 2 weeks.

  1. Follow-up with your dream company!

It is encouraged that you contact your #1 choice for an internship about when they will reach their decision for selecting their interns. When following up, you may say that you’re still very interested, but you have received a competitive offer and would like to know how soon they will be reaching a decision.

  1. Make a decision and stick with it.

Making a decision about where you would like to intern is sometimes difficult, but it is also very exciting! Below are some related articles about how to deal with multiple internship offers (what a happy problem to have). Good luck Elon interns!

What To Do When You Get Multiple Internship Offers

Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Multiple Internship Offers

Top 10 Reasons to Get an Internship

By: Katie Ginsberg

Not fully convinced an internship is right for you? Here are 10 reasons why it is a vital step in your future:

  1. Gain hands-on experience: Interning presents helpful skills and lessons that cannot be learned in the classroom.
  2. Learn more about your industry: Internships provide a snapshot of your typical day and present the different types of projects you would be working on.
  3. Learn more about your interests: Through this experience, you will learn both your likes and dislikes, which will help you to figure out what career you truly want to pursue.
  4. Realize your strengths and weaknesses: You will be working on a variety of projects that will highlight your strengths and the areas in need of improvement.
  5. Make valuable connections: Effective networking is key these days! The relationships you make with fellow employees can significantly help you when applying for jobs.
  6. Gain confidence: There’s no denying that you will be presented with stressful situations, but through this experience you will gain confidence in dealing with problems and working with professionals.
  7. Learn about professionalism in the workplace: Your internship will teach you how to appropriately behave in the working environment.
  8. Improve your social skills: Whether it’s during the interviewing process or simple daily interactions, you will improve your communication skills with professionals.
  9. Learn about the company culture: Each company has its own personality, behavior and core values. You will realize if the company is the right fit for you, or what aspects to look out for in future company searches.
  10. Get one step closer to a job offer! You never know – your internship could lead to a future position at the company. So, go apply, work hard and have fun!