Dear PR Guy:
While applying for PR internships, would you have any suggestions beyond barraging different firms with resumes/letters of interest? A way to make it more personal without it looking either A) desperate or B) like a match.com application?
Signed, Don’t Want to Be “Match.com”
PR Guy once applied for a series of jobs in his younger days by putting the herb catnip in a small plastic bag and taping it to a piece of paper laid out to look like a PSA that read “DON’T BE A DOPE. HIRE PR GUY.” (Not his real name.)
PR Guy’s belief at the time was that the trick to getting a job was getting “noticed.” Meanwhile, Ms. PR Guy (back then just Ms. Editor Girl) tried to be supportive yet shared in her gentle way that people get “noticed” for all sorts of reasons. Like, say, having a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth or wearing plaid pants to a funeral.
(When PR Guy finally did get a new job, he asked his new employer what they had thought of his stunt. “We sort of thought you must be a fool,” or something along these lines, “but we liked you when we met you.”)
The point being that — believe it or not — what people really want to know about a potential intern is who you are and why you’d make a good fit. The way to do that is to be yourself (your professional self, not your Facebook self; and absolutely your “I’ve learned everything I can about you and can tell you why I’m a good fit” self).
Perhaps start with the question, “Why do I really want to work there?” And then be sure you can answer, “Why am I the best person they can hire?”
And for the record, there was no “match.com” in PR Guy’s day. We had to do things the old-fashioned way. But that’s a topic for another column.
Got a question? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.