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Weber Shandwick Seattle takes an integrated approach to communications. We engage, always. We spark conversations, keep them going and turn ideas into global movements.

The PR Internship’s New Killer App: A Diverse Background

February 21, 2013

Weber Shandwick Seattle is proud to bring back its intern blog post series that aims to help young professionals land and make the most of their PR agency internships. In our first series, interns gave the inside scoop on What They Didn’t Tell You about careers in PR. This time around, our rock star interns will take a look at how PR professionals can come from a variety of backgrounds. Below is the second post in the series – PR Internships, a Matter of ‘Degrees’.

After recently talking with a group of visiting college students, I realized that many of us question if an internship outside of our major is the right fit. Can you have a successful internship outside of your chosen field of study? Read on to find out.

Maximize your degree: Diverse backgrounds are welcome in PR!

In college, I was interested in many facets of the communication program. I graduated with a communication degree and an emphasis in advertising and also took a few PR courses. Since graduating, my specific major has been restructured and is now called strategic communication. The curriculum still emphasizes writing, research, management and creativity, which are all skills used on a daily basis in my PR internship.

In the ever-changing PR world, you can use a unique skill set and degree to bring a new perspective to your team and your clients. Weber Shandwick recently met with current students and it was clear that those individuals who bring a variety of different skills to the table are sought after more than ever before.

Actively participate: Find what you are passionate about and get involved.

While living in a college town, I participated in a range of activities to broaden my network and get involved. Examples include media planning in my advertising classes and becoming the chair of my sorority. College is a great time to further develop deep understandings of the interests you’ve identified. Whether you attend college in a city or small town, make the most of your location by networking and joining groups that spark your creativity and engage you on a personal level. My interest and love of music ultimately led me to my summer internships.

Who knew that previous Seattle radio internships would ultimately shape a career in PR? Nothing can quite prepare you for the fast-paced work environment that is agency PR, but radio did. Working at the radio station, you had to be a jack of all trades – from conducting extensive research, to writing copy for commercials and website elements, to developing proposals.  Although these tasks were specific to radio, I have applied these non-traditional PR experiences to my daily projects and found them very useful. For example, writing commercial copy for a client has similar important elements as drafting a press release.

Break out of your comfort zone: PR is evolving; apply for an internship to gain real experience.

For me, working in the media industry fostered a greater interest in the expanding opportunities in Seattle. Over the past few months, I have found that a PR internship is a great way to use my previous experiences while learning and growing within the industry. Applying for an internship is a great way to find your place in the world of PR and get the hands-on experience to start your career.

I suggest checking out 15 Tips to Help Launch Your Communications Career for additional insight on navigating the PR world. And stay tuned for the next intern-authored blog post that explores a PR internship from the perspective of a psychology major.

Author—Christine Reisenauer is from Redmond, Washington and is currently an intern with Weber Shandwick Seattle. You can find out more about Christine at her LinkedIn profile.

Image courtesy of drewsaunders.