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Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

July 6th, 2009

10 Interviewing DOs to Remember

Last week you saw a post from us on things to remember NOT to do in an internship interview. To continue our summer series geared toward helping college students/recent grads find internships, today we’ll give 10 tips of things to DO in an internship interview.

  1. Do bring in updated copies of your resume to give to the people who will be interviewing you. And, please make sure you do proof it to assure it’s error-free.
  2. Do bring in materials that display your writing ability. We’ve seen some people on our side of the interview say they don’t want to see that kind of stuff, especially if it was for a college class. We do. It shows us your writing ability, your writing style. Bring a press release sample or other relevant writing samples.
  3. Do get sleep the night before. You want to come into the interview looking rested and ready to put your best foot forward.
  4. Do make sure you present yourself well and are dressed appropriately. Some PR agencies have a fairly casual dress code for the office, and Voce is one of those. But if you come in for an interview you should be dressed one step above us, at the minimum. Don’t be afraid of looking ‘too nice’ because you heard people don’t ‘dress up’ for work anymore. That kind of thing impresses us, shows us you really want the job.
  5. Do familiarize yourself with our client roster. You should be able to name some of our clients, but if you can also talk about what they do and what we do for them, that will really impress us. But, as we mentioned in our last post — don’t fake it.
  6. Do be prepared to talk about what you read. Reading is just as important to our jobs as writing. We want to know what you read – newspapers, magazines, blogs – and how often you turn to those outlets. It doesn’t even have to be things we read, we just want to know you keep up on culture and trends.
  7. Do understand the differences between PR and social media marketing. Our interns do both, so we look for people that can articulate how the approaches differ. On that same note, you should have an understanding of some of the various social media tools and how they fit into communication approaches. Two easy ones to become familiar with quickly (if you’re not already) are Facebook and Twitter.
  8. Do express some of your personality. We have a fun office and want you to contribute to the culture. Show you have a sense of humor and like to have fun. And act like you want to be at the interview. We’ve had some interviews where the candidate acted like it was a chore.
  9. Do realize that an internship can lead to a full-time job. Many college grads who are having to take internships instead of entry-level jobs due to the state of the economy are frustrated. What they need to keep in mind is that most employers, including Voce, love to hire people as interns and after the internship offer them full-time positions, if a position is available. Think of it as an extended try-out or interview.
  10. Do remember to give examples. If you tell us that time management is a skill-set you possess that’s particularly strong, tell us why and back it up with solid examples. By the same token, if you haven’t had a lot of ‘real world’ PR or social media experience, it’s perfectly fine to discuss relevant projects you did for class and use them as examples. The key is to always connect past experiences with what your roles/responsibilities might be in the internship.  Explain how those skills will transfer over to things you’d do in the internship.

One more tip to keep in mind – if you’re having trouble getting an internship, consider talking to a local non-profit and asking if they need any help with PR/Marketing. It will give you solid, applicable experience that you can then use later in future interviews and jobs. In the current, competitive job and internship market nothing beats experience, so be prepared to get creative about how and where you get it.

About the Author
Kevin is a senior client executive at Voce working to lead, develop and execute communication programs that focus on public relations and social media. Read his previous contributions to the Voce Nation Blog and follow Kevin on twitter @kevin_york.

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