Landing an entry-level position out of an internship is the goal of every post-graduate intern and I was no exception. You do your homework, ask questions, be proactive and work late to get the attention of your supervisor and colleagues but sometimes that full-time job offer just doesn’t come.
I found myself in that situation about one month ago. I received a great deal of positive feedback and praise, I was told that I was the ideal candidate to progress to a full-time position but, unfortunately, when it came down to it the budget just wasn’t there to justify a hire. That’s just how it goes sometimes in PR and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but budgets really do determine your fate.
If that happens to you don’t despair, there are still ways to use your internship experience to land a full-time position elsewhere – and that’s exactly what I did. In the last month of my internship I used the connections I had built to make new connections and had advocates trying to help me find a position at another agency.
The agency I was working for sponsored a PRSA networking event and I was thrilled to attend as a representative of the agency. The event offered a low-pressure way for me to meet other professionals in the area. Because I was there on behalf of an agency it was clear that I had an internship already but I could discuss how I was looking to make the move into a full-time position when my internship ended.
I met a great contact while I was there and made sure that I expressed interest in her agency and drew parallels from my internship experience. We exchanged cards and I thought I had just made a new contact but I ended up making more than that. She emailed me one week later and asked for my resume because they were hiring.
Use Your Established Connections
While I was sending out my resume and attending networking events I also put my established connections to work for me. My supervisor and coworkers reached out to their friends and agency partners to see if they were hiring. Having the inquiry come from them was a great way to break through the clutter and stand out among other candidates.
My supervisor contacted one of her friends, who happened to work at the same agency as my networking contact, and she confirmed that they were hiring. My resume came from two sources and was accompanied by a recommendation from my supervisor; it definitely separated me from the other candidates.
After three rounds of interviews I was offered the position, and am happily employed as an assistant account executive at GolinHarris. The best advice I can give anyone looking to go from an internship to a full-time position would be to leverage your internship to land you a job. You should be using your contacts and attending industry events to meet, and get introduced to, as many people in the field as possible.
It may seem disheartening when you don’t get hired after your internship but don’t leave without engaging your supervisor or coworkers. The full-time position will happen, but it may happen faster with their help.
Natalie Poston is a 2010 graduate of Michigan State University where she majored in Advertising and a specialization in Public Relations. She was an active member of PRSSA at MSU and is now a member of Chicago PRSA. After graduating Natalie gained internship experience in the non-profit, public affairs and consumer space. She is currently an assistant account executive in the consumer practice of GolinHarris Chicago.