Be Proactive in the Internship Process!

By Miles Garrett

The Communications School strives to help its students excel and find internships and jobs. Communications student organizations allow any person to come in and gain valuable experience in their respective field of study. However, it’s important to know the value in being proactive in determining your opportunities outside of what is offered to you at Elon University.

As a freshman, I started my own sports blog to offer my opinions on sports-related content while also practicing my writing at the same time. During this period, I learned to share my content on social media and to advertise my work, and I received some notoriety as a result. This experience provided an advantage over my peers when I applied to The Pendulum my freshman year; and after only two short months, I was offered the role of sports editor. I believe  getting that role would have been impossible if I had not been proactive with my work.

You should also take responsibility for your own learning.  Classes are important to my career, but I teach myself and learn on my feet, too. I rented cameras and decided to practice filming on my own and eventually learned some good techniques. Otherwise, I could have hindered  learning a very important aspect of my major.

Finally, the Communications School will do its best to help you get an internship, but at the end of the day it’s up to you. I applied to nearly 30 different internships and received numerous rejection letters. I had to be proactive in going off campus and meeting people in-person, and even showing up to a TV station to talk about their internship program. This ended up being what got me the internship —being persistent and taking matters into my own hands.


Highlighting Coursework in the Application Process

By Rachel Tinker

So, you’re applying for your first internship. You have very little organization experience, but you have learned a lot about the industry from classes, and that’s okay. Everyone must start somewhere. Below are some ways you can best highlight your course experiences during the internship application process.

On Your Resume or In Your ePortfolio

If you have coursework that will help you stand out, such as writing samples, graphic design projects, multimedia content and more, consider making an ePortfolio. Take advantage of the School of Communications resources  to help you create an effective one. If you’ve worked with a client for a class, highlight that work in your ePortfolio, or even on your resume. Be mindful that you may have signed non-disclosure agreements with the client , so make sure you have permission first to include this work in an  eportfolio.  It’s best to ask  your professor or client. If you cannot use your work, your resume can also be a great place to feature some of the work you’ve completed. Examples of how to do that can be found on The Balance. Featuring your work in an eportfolio is always preferred, but either way, it allows for a hiring manager to get a better sense of your knowledge.

In Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a great place to reference an experience you’ve had working with a client. The SPDC offers a cover letter writing guide that helps with the structure. If you lack professional experience, consider highlighting how you used your skills or qualifications in your class. Consider how your coursework has challenged you to develop and use skills that would be useful in the internship.  This will demonstrate a greater understanding of the internship position, while also showing that you have the skills necessary to be a great intern.

In An Interview

An interview is the perfect time to bring up concrete examples of your expertise, even if those experiences are through the classroom. In the interview for my first internship, I brought up working with a client in my Strategic Campaigns class. My work with that client captured just about every element of work I would be doing in my internship, from strategic planning to developing content. Discussing my coursework and what I learned from it allowed my employer to get to know me in a more personal way. Rather than speaking generally, I could draw on my actual experiences that would benefit me as an intern, and I got hired!

Coursework is not a replacement for getting involved in student professional organizations and faciltiies, but it can help set you apart as a candidate ready for a working environment.

Intern Abroad!

Living and studying abroad is an experience that many students pursue at least once during their time at Elon. But are you aware you can also intern while you are abroad?

In some cases, like the Elon in London program, students are automatically given the opportunity to register for internship credit and placed with a career-related organization for the semester.

In other cases, students have found ways to get a meaningful internship abroad by working with our office. Internships abroad offer a number of advantages to students. Adding international experience to your resume adds a unique element and potential employers will be impressed by your adaptability to a workplace in a different culture. In a society that is increasingly global, international experience will make you a more attractive applicant. By working closely with our office to gain an internship, you will be well on your way.

There are a few key factors to keep in mind as you begin the process to apply abroad. Simply working at any organization is not going to be as helpful as finding a reputable location, where you will gain valuable knowledge pertaining to your career goals and discipline of study. Also, we have a number of alumni who work for international organizations or live abroad who can become a great connection and resource.

Keep in mind that depending on when or how you are travelling, you will need to balance time with your internship course, other classes, travel and simply experiencing the country where you are living. Getting an internship is great, but we want to ensure it enhances your experience abroad.

Finally, contact the Isabella Cannon International Centre, even if you’re going to your native country to complete the study abroad application.There may also be different visa applications and safety concerns so your destination must first be approved.  Then, be prepared to work closely with the School of Communications Internship Office about meeting our internship requirements. Together, we will help you to create a unique study-abroad internship experience.

To get started visit the Isabella Cannon International Centre’s Intern Abroad Resources website and make an appointment with the internship office.

Can I complete an internship during the academic school year?

Many students come into our office asking this exact question, and the answer is YES!  Many communications students complete an internship during the academic school year, but once again the key is planning.  Before completing an internship during the academic school year, be sure to meet with your adviser and determine when you would have time in your schedule to complete an internship along with your other courses.

Some students choose to take a few classes at Elon and complete an internship for credit locally in Burlington, Greensboro or Raleigh.  Others choose to live at home or in another city while completing an internship during the summer or winter terms.  And occasionally, a student will plan to live in another city and complete an internship while taking the semester off.  In this case, they have planned this well in advance and will still graduate on time.  They also hope the internship will transition into a job.

Another consideration is tuition.  If you enroll for a summer term, then like other academic courses, you must pay for the internship course.  You will only pay additional tuition during other terms if you exceed the allowable credit hours.

To get more information about completing an internship during the academic school year, be sure to talk with your advisor and make an appointment with Mrs. Tonkins to begin your internship search today!

Make an appointment here:

The importance of starting your internship search early

Although the idea of starting your search for an internship might be daunting, it is important to begin your search early and continue to search often. Frequently, first and second year students feel that they do not need to enter the internship office until they are a junior or senior; however, this is not the case!

It is important to visit the internship office early in your academic career to research internship opportunities and application requirements.  This way, you can find your dream internship at ELLE magazine or NBC News, for example; and over the next year or so, you can be build your resume and portfolio with experiences and work that will help you land your dream internship.  Strategy is key.

Some big internship opportunities may even request previous internships or campus media experience before applying.  By coming into the internship office early and often to research what opportunities are out there, you can be sure to be thoroughly prepared to land your dream internship once the application deadline arrives!

Make an appointment to come into the internship office and explore your options:

The Application Process

So, you’ve come to the internship office, made a list of potential internships and researched the companies.  Now what?  It is time to start your application process!

When applying to internships, especially at larger companies with a competitive application process, it is essential that you painstakingly follow the internship application instructions.  Here are some steps to help you submit a flawless application:

  1. Pay attention to the deadline. Some internship deadlines begin as early as October for some summer internships, while other companies don’t even think about their summer interns until March or April.  So, get organized, gather the required materials, and give yourself time to have others look over them.  Don’t let deadlines sneak up on you!
  2. Provide all of the materials the company needs from you. Some companies only request a cover letter and resume’ while others may request writing samples, transcripts, letters of recommendation, portfolio work and personal statements.  Beware of providing incomplete applications; employers say you will not be considered for the position.
  3. Proofread. We cannot stress this enough!  It is extremely important to read and re-read your application materials. Employers repeatedly stress that sloppy application materials formatted incorrectly and with grammatical errors are not considered for the positions.  The Internship Office is here to assist you by reviewing your application materials, and Ross Wade can review your resume’ and cover letters.
  4. Follow directions. Type or write your application means just that.  Occasionally, companies will complete a handwriting analysis.
  5. Apply with confidence! After following the 4 above steps, you are sure to submit a stellar, complete and error-free internship application.  Remember- a flawless application is the first step to your success in obtaining the internship you want!

Visit these links with more information on the importance of applying for your internship correctly:

Don’t be too confident–keep applying!

It’s almost Spring Break; and you’ve sent your resume to 7 places and have heard back from 3.  You have two interviews over break, and you’re working on scheduling the third.  One of the three has to work out… And if not, one of the other 4 is sure to get back to you…right?

Hopefully, yes…
Realistically, not necessarily.

One huge mistake students make is they forget to continue researching and applying.  It should be an ongoing process until your internship is solidified.  Even after walking out of (what you think was) the best interview ever, you should continue with your search.  First of all, you want to make sure you have a back-up plan if things don’t work out.  But more importantly, you could find another internship better suited for YOU…a better environment, a better location, or better intern duties, etc.

The process of finding an internship can be long and stressful-we get that.  But the actual experience of interning is remarkable and rewarding.  So keep researching, continue applying, and get ready for the internship of a lifetime!