Intern Diaries: How to Write a Killer Cover Letter

Writing a substantial cover letter in the Public Relations field is an important part of landing a job interview. Even with lack of experience, a well-written cover letter can get you a foot in the door. A cover letter is not about why you want to work at the company; instead, it’s about why they should want to hire you. Developing a creative, legible cover letter that helps you stand out can be intimidating, but here are some pointers that will get you noticed and headed towards a PR interview.

1. Address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager. If this person's name isn't in the job listing, you can do company research to find out or take the extra effort to call or email the company. Even if you end up putting down the wrong name it shows you tried, which is way more appreciated than writing, “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager”.

2. Do not reiterate your resume. The purpose of a cover letter is to zero in on why you should be the one considered for the position. PR firms are huge on communication and your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to show how effective you’re able to communicate yourself. A lengthy version of your resume is not going to impress anyone or get you an interview. Instead, provide  details about your work experience and how they fit into the position you’re applying for.

3. Creativity is important, but keep in mind that it's a professional document, so don't go too over-the-top. This can be hard when you’re looking for a way to stand out, but originality is more encouraged in Public Relations, so you’re allowed more creative rein when writing your cover letter. The trick is to not go overboard. Find a middle where you can allow your personality to shine through while also maintaining a professional demeanor.

4. Make sure they know you've done your research. If you’re applying for a job, you should have a good idea of what the company represents and how well you’d fit into that picture. PR Agencies like Mediafy Communications service multiple clients in different industries, so doing research on their clients can help you market skills that would be beneficial for their clients. Convey that you understand the company and its goals and sell with how your skills and experience will help them reach those goals.

5. Always close your cover letter with an action statement. The key to writing an effective call-to-action statement is to be short, confident, and reiterate your interest in the position. The call-to-action is important when applying to jobs in PR because pitches are often concluded with this type of statement. It also gives employers a clear idea as to what they need to do next and ends your cover letter on a positive note.

6. Keep your letter no longer than one page. Your cover letter is an introduction to yourself, not a college essay that needs to be 10 pages long to meet the teacher’s criteria. A quick read over your cover letter speaks volumes about your communication skills, so be brief and concise.

 

The 5 Traits of a Rockstar PR Intern

Starting a public relations internship is an amazing experience where you are presented with opportunities to learn from your bosses, take the lead on projects, and accept different responsibilities. While every internship experience is unique and every intern is different, everyone wants to impress their boss and prove they can help the company succeed. This can be intimidating when you have absolutely no idea how to stand out, but there are qualities of great interns that provide a fulfilling internship and will impress your boss. Of course, be yourself and do what you think is best but striving to grow and improve yourself never hurt.

Here are 5 traits of a Rockstar intern:

1)      Good Communicator – As a PR intern, communication is the most important quality for you to have. The whole industry is about communicating so don’t hesitate to ask for help. Nobody expects you to know everything and your team members are there to teach and support you. It doesn’t make you a failure if you need help with an assignment. Most people would rather you ask questions so the project gets done right rather than you not ask questions and it be done poorly. Nothing screams “rockstar” like effective communication!

2)      Detail Oriented – Public Relations can be very detail specific. Interns are often used to complete the groundwork for projects, so they will be asked to compile media lists or conduct research. As a Rockstar intern you want to make sure your tasks are completed as detailed as possible. Some of the work may seem tedious, but the emails lists and research all a part of a bigger picture. Attention to detail helps everyone else do their job more efficiently and allows them to focus on other aspects of the project.

3)      Enthusiastic – Nobody wants to teach an intern that is not at all excited about their work. Enthusiasm goes a long way and it’s important to show desire not only in what you are assigned, but what is next. Interest in the process and company shows that you are dedicated beyond your role and are looking to improve and grow.

4)      Reliable – A rockstar intern is someone people can count on. Your entire office should be able to trust you with projects and important deadlines they assign you. They should know that you will be early or on time to work, and that you will always follow through with what you say. To be reliable you need to respect time, manage commitments, and be honest about your workload and thoughts. Being a reliable person, will earn more respect from everybody and guarantee more responsibilities.

5)      Initiative – Taking initiative is one of the easiest ways to become the “Rockstar” to your bosses. It shows that you are hardworking and won’t just sit around wasting time after you finish the task they’ve given you. Taking initiative means you take charge and ask if there’s something else to help with or even improve something without being asked. By taking initiative you may be given new projects or learn more about other aspects of the company. Experience is everything these days and this is one way to learn even more while working in the same position.

—Brittney Alonzo

Intern Diaries: From Journalism to PR

I wish I was one of those people that could say I’ve known what I wanted to do since the day I was born or had some inspirational story to share about how I found my passion for PR, but I think it’s more of a funny coincidence than anything.

I grew up in a suburban area about an hour from Los Angeles and while attending Junior College there they told me I had to pick a major and me - having no idea what I wanted to do with my life – just went with something “easy” which was writing, or technically journalism. I figured I’d been writing since like 1st grade so how hard could it really be? Well let me tell you, there is way more to journalism than just writing, but by the time I realized that I had already taken multiple classes towards that degree and I’m the type of stubborn person who sticks to their guns.

Anyway, fast forward to my last two years of college at Long Island University and I got considerably good at writing. I worked on our college newspaper, Seawanhaka, as both Managing Editor and Arts & Entertainment Editor where I would write about new trends, events happening around campus, artists and actors, as well as manage the work of the other editors and brainstorm news stories. I had developed substantial skills in writing but lacked passion for the trade. It led to perpetually questioning as to why I was going in debt for a degree that I wasn’t even passionate about.

It wasn’t until my required Introduction to PR class that I was told about the other options my future could hold. I remember thinking, “Wait a second! You’re telling me I don’t have to just write articles for the rest of my life? Why did no one tell me this a year ago?”. That class changed everything and pointed me in the direction I needed to go. I learned about the differences between PR and journalism and found that my creative edge and storytelling fit more comfortably in PR and that the job would allow me to perform multiple different aspects while also integrating writing.

Everything after that epiphany became simple. I had the opportunity to intern at The Brandman PR Agency while still in New York, which even furthered my ongoing love for the field, and after eventually graduating I found myself lucky enough to come across an internship opportunity for Mediafy Communications where I overall hope to gain a solid skillset that will lead to successful and fulfilling career.

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7 Reasons Why You Should Intern at a PR Firm Before a Full-Time Track

 

I had no idea what public relations or marketing were a few years ago. My personal love for communication and cultivating relationships led to a fulfilling internship at Mediafy Communications during my last semester as a graduate student. I find it relevant to build a strong foundation for a bright and successful career in this industry, and strategic communication is key.

Here are seven reasons why you should intern at a PR agency before taking the leap to full-time, high-stress, no-sleep madness.

Alright, it’s not THAT bad. ;)

1.       You learn important communication strategies from tenured PR pros. Building relationships and learning how to communicate with the media is a building block in PR. You also learn how to maintain those relationships in the long run to secure press coverage for your clients. A cool tip I learned is to Sherlock Holmes your media contact before reaching out to them for a client pitch.

2.       You learn how to pitch. Pitching is, by experience, hitting up journalists to let them know about your rad clients, their products and how they can be of service. But, there’s a catch. Journalists that write for major news outlets receive at least 200 pitches a day. In other words, your pitch can get lost in the pile of trying-to-impress-you emails. An essential tip is to keep your pitch short, specific and newsworthy. Also, to pitch effectively, you need to have excellent writing skills. Interning allows you to develop and hone your writing skills, especially with all the great feedback you get from your higher-ups.

3.       You learn how to deal with rejection. Pitching media and not hearing back reminds me of the crush that leaves your text messages on read. Either they didn’t like your pitch, or they just didn’t see it. Either way, it hurts. It’s fine though, because not every person you email is going to respond, and you can always just follow up.

4.       You get free stuff. Most PR clients have products out in the market. And chances are if you’re doing PR for them, you get some cool stuff for free. Whenever I receive client products, I like to learn more about them and gain some inspiration for pitching the products to the media. Sounds like a win/win to me.

5.       You learn how to manage your time in a fast-paced environment. Time management is key in the rush of the PR industry. Usually, there’s not a moment where you don’t have something to do. Learning how to juggle multiple tasks at once is essential to getting work done ahead of time. A cool tip is to keep a planner to stay organized and check off tasks once completed.

6.       You develop leadership qualities. Being a leader in PR requires patience, excellent communication skills and flexibility. Things are not always pristine, so remaining patient through tough situations can drive success. Great communication and being flexible by working with what you’ve got is also key. Everyday in the office is different, and you must be ready for the unexpected.

7.       You learn to have fun. PR is exciting, enjoyable and rewarding! You can get creative with your pitches, experiment with PR technologies, develop content that makes you (and your boss) proud and become a more well-rounded and knowledgeable person. Once you secure media placement for your clients, they won’t be the only ones smiling.

Overall, my PR internship experience has been full of adventure, learning, growth and did I mention free stuff?

- Jasmine Piliposyan

Why You Should Hire a PR Agency

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There are a lot of reasons why companies should hire a PR agency. For one thing, if you're a startup or new company coming into a world full of competitors and chaos, you'll need some experts to guide you through the terrain and help you stand out from the massive crowd. Here are 3 reasons why a PR agency may be right for you:

  1. They will keep your story honest (if they're good): While your company or product may really be the best thing since sliced bread, good PR agencies will temper your enthusiasm and inject some realism into your brand strategy. Why, you ask? Because that's exactly what you need. Bad PR agencies fluff the truth and boost your ego to no end, even if that means being dishonest. If an ego boost is what you need, you should probably call your mother. The more honest and real you are about your business and PR goals, the more of a chance you will have to succeed and truly become the best thing since sliced bread.
     
  2. They have the right relationships: Sure, you have a lot of friends. Maybe you were prom queen. Maybe you were ASB president. Maybe you have over 2,000 friends on Facebook - but are these friends helping you get the right people talking about you? Probably not. PR agencies have years of working with media and influencers on their belt. Although this doesn't necessarily mean that they will always get you media coverage, it does mean that they have more access to the right people than you do. 
     
  3. They're good storytellers: In a world where people now have a shorter attention span than goldfish, you need a good storyteller and communicator that will be dedicated to grabbing peoples' attention within a few seconds. The one quality that I think all good PR people need to have is communication. Good PR agencies know how to write, speak and converse about your brand in a way that won't easily be forgotten. 

Although there are plenty of other reasons why you probably need to hire a PR agency for your business, these are just a few to get your started thinking about it.