Monday, March 31, 2008 at Boston University's PRSSA Event

This weekend was full of events for! We attended "PR Advanced" PRSSA Goes 2.o," which was hosted by the Boston University and Simmons College Chapters of Public Relations Student Society of America. The conference was held at B.U. and included various representatives from local PR firms as well as students from B.U., Simmons and University of Rhode Island. Our favorite speaker at the conference was THE social media guru, David Meerman Scott. He is the successful author of best-selling book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. He believes in the use of social media (blogs, podcasts, social media releases, viral marketing and online media) to promote products and measure success rather than old methods like clip books and newspaper articles. The first time we heard David Meerman Scott speak was at Boston PodCamp in the fall. This time we learned some great new things about PR and the blogging world. Scott is a huge believer in the power of blogs and their large reach (his blog gets thousands of its daily). What we found most interesting is the fact that Scott's book sold more copies when it was featured on his blog as opposed to when the New York Times published an article about it!
At the end of the conference was a career fair with companies like Schneider Associates, Racepoint Group, 360 Public Relations, Fleishman Hillard, Weber Shandwick, Cone and yours truly! Seniors and underclassmen socialized with these well respected firms about jobs and internships. (Surprisingly, the Public Relations industry is just starting to hire employees and interns.) We were excited to mix and mingle with students and learn about their internship experiences. Companies were even interested (and slightly scared) to discover their company reputation. Whether your last experience was fabulous or a waste of time,  don't forget to rate it so that other interns can make a more informed decision for this summer! 
We look forward to seeing you soon.

--Stephanie and Lauren

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Internship Ratings of the Week: Omniture, Inc.

This week I have decided to review the rating for Omniture, Inc. This rating stands out to me because of the working environment this user experienced. From what I gather, Omniture is a fast-paced media company that understands the importance of an internship. This user states that there was always something to do and "never felt like I was given busy work or work that was insubstantial." Obviously, this is very important to future internship applicants. At this company, you can leave with a feeling of accomplishment and maybe even a portfolio! This internship is also good for networking and real world experience.

The one problem with this company is that it is quite large. This can be extremely overwhelming for an intern. According to this users comments, there are a lot of politics that circle around the office environment. If interning at a company be careful when it comes to gossip and inter social relations. Keep it PG-13 at all times. Remember things you say in fun or in passing can bite you in the butt! While working at a company that likes to "work hard and play hard" make sure you show your personality.

I think that this company provides a great experience for most interns. But, if it is your first time interning I would recommend staying away. It is hard to be thrown into such a large company at the beginning. If you are just starting your intern career, try applying to smaller companies. Hopefully there you will be able to adjust to the working world without having to deal with corporate politics. For more information about this internship check out!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Great Debate: Which Internship To Take

Spring is progressing and internships are quickly approaching. The normal highly structured and well planned life that I like to lead now has elements of uncertainty. I find myself in a confused position regarding the decision of which internship position I should accept. I applied to two very different companies: a public relations firm and a recording studio that specializes in jingle writing. (Do not judge me, it sounds like a fun, creative, brain-exercising summer experience.) I am finding the decision difficult for a few reasons: 1) Should I try something new that isn't necessarily related to my intended major? 2) Should I work under a pr professional or as my own boss? 3) Should I accept a summer of low-level pr tasks for a well-respected firm or work diligently (and stressfully) to create high-level projects?

This predicament is one of the reasons why I created While it is important to consider the skills I will learn and the tasks I will perform, the company environment and staff play a large part in the success of an internship experience. If the companies I am interested in were posted on the website, it would make my decision much easier! Unfortunately, I do not know anyone who has interned at these companies and therefore must try to make the most informed decision I can on my own.

As I sit here weighing my options, I will offer you some advice if you are in the same position. Ask for the company's internship program fact sheet/guide. This document should clearly define your summer duties and the company's expectations of you. The one I received even details how to answer the phone properly! As I have also mentioned before, the interview is also a great way to get to know more about your potential employer. Thoughtful questions can provide you with similar answers that a previous intern would give.

If you have taken this advice and feel confident about both internships, you should feel confident selecting either option. And when you are finished with your experience, don't forget to add it to to make a fellow intern's next decision an easier one!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Create Your Own Internship

College students are individuals who have diverse passions and interests seeking self-discovery. It is almost as if college students are expected to have a clear idea of their intended career path upon matriculating. Narrow-based curriculums do not allow students to experience different fields of interest. Internships, however, can foster the discovery of unknown skills and hobbies. 

Traditionally, companies offer set programs to shadow a position or to include certain projects. Students who want the flexibility of exploration are now designing their own internship programs to meet their wants. Companies who have established programs are taking notice of these individuals and hiring them for positions. The Wall Street Journal published an article on this subject late last week. It featured liberal-arts students who pitched ideas to various companies about projects that anticipated the company's needs and combined the student's personal interests. For example, one girl combined her love of hip-hop music and helping children by organizing a program for underprivileged children for a non-profit art education organization.

Do not get discouraged if a company does not offer the program you want. Instead, design your ideal experience and pitch it to companies. Create a proposal that you can send to a targeted group of companies and/or organizations. In order to do this, you must first conduct research that can help you narrow the focus of your internship search. Consider what you want to gain from the internship (skill development, career exploration), what kind of responsibilities you would like to have and what kind of daily duties. Then, think about the field(s) you want to work in and whether there is a need for what you want to do. The proposal should be written in place of the cover letter and include the following information:
  • Specific description of what you would like to do and why you think the company needs you to do it
  • Description of the project or position you want to fill
  • Description of what you have to offer the company/organization
  • Dates of availability
  • Attached resume that highlights strengths mentioned in the proposal
Developing your own internship takes time and effort. If you cannot locate a position that is  customary, do not give up! You are a commodity that companies value and depend on. Be persistent until you find the right opportunity!


Persistence equals progress!

The last few months, I have been observing my friend go through the process of getting an internship. David, a broadcast journalism major, wanted to intern at a local Boston news station. He had a contact through a family friend and called him early on in the school year. He was told to call the station around January when they begin accepting internship applications. When January arrived, David excitedly called the contact and reminded him of his dedication to this potential internship.

When David didn’t get a response from the program coordinator, he became frustrated and concerned. I reminded him not to give up and be determined. Persistence shows interest, responsibility and passion. David decided to follow up by calling the coordinator. Finally, a few weeks later he received a phone call back for an interview. He felt the interview went really well and was confident that he would hear from the interviewer within the next few days. When David had not heard from him after two weeks he knew he had to do something. He was tired of calling and did not have the interviewer’s email address. The one thing he did have was the office address. David decided to write his interviewer a hand written thank you letter. Although it seems weird as most people avoid snail mail at all costs (especially for work correspondence), he knew it would not hurt.

His thank you note said something to the effect of:
Dear X,
I enjoyed speaking to you this afternoon. I think that I am a great fit for your internship program. As we discussed in our conversation, I am journalism major with experience writing for my college newspaper. Like you said, I think this would be a great first internship for me. Thank you again and I hope to hear from you soon.


Remember while writing a thank you note to be grateful and concise. It is also a good idea to recap a part of the conversation to spark a memory.
A few days after his letter was received, David got a phone call. He was accepted to the internship program! David was so excited and realized that his persistence paid off. David learned that although sometimes times you feel like a nuisance, its better to be overly enthusiastic than lethargic.

The moral of the story is a little bit goes a long way. Take that extra step. Make that extra phone call. Write that extra letter. It’s better to go above and beyond. Remain confidant and determined and your passion with shine through.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Internship of the Week: New England Cable News

Internships in broadcast journalism can be very intense. They often require odd hours in a fast paced environment that can be hard to adjust to. But, if you are aching for your television or radio debut, you must begin as an intern. I’m sure back in the day you could have found Barbra Walters fetching someone a cup of coffee.

The internship I chose to review this week is an internship at New England Cable News. It seems like an all around good internship. The user who posted felt comfortable in his/her environment. There was not a lot of grunt work involved and it met the description that he/she signed up. This user did not receive a letter of recommendation, but did receive college credit. Although this user did not get a letter of recommendation, it doesn’t mean your chance at a recommendation is over. After the internship ends, it is appropriate to contact your boss or supervisor. You can let him/her know how much you learned throughout your internship and how important his/her involvement was in your experience at the company. Then simply state that you would appreciate a letter of recommendation for your files. No matter what the answer, it never hurts to ask.

One of the most important aspects of an internship is networking. This internship seems like a great networking environment. The user specifically states that “there's an hour break and lots of time to network - if you're interested in a particular field of broadcast journalism, like sports or investigative reporting, the people are incredibly helpful in getting you into whatever you like to do in your spare time here.” Working at a new station provides people with a lot of opportunity for socializing. Talking to anyone and everyone can only help you!The bad thing about this internship is that it is located in Newton, MA, which is about 8 miles (but 25 minutes) outside of Boston. If you are a college student living in Boston it may be wise to have a car for the duration of the internship. For more information on this internship check out or the New England Cable News job section: