“I’ve paid my dues through two internships so I’m ready for a full-time job,” proclaimed a 23-year-old PR graduate who recently turned down several internship opportunities as she waits for a permanent position. I wished her luck.
The next evening, I attended PRSA Chicago’s Skyline Awards where the recipient of the Young Professional of the Year Award has one of those coveted full-time jobs—after having survived — and thrived — in five internships.
“I always tell young, aspiring PR professionals to get as much experience as you can during college by trying out a variety of internships,” said Michael Queroz, account supervisor – digital with Public Communications Inc. “I had five internships during college because I truly wanted to see which communications field was right for me, and now that I’m reviewing applicants at PCI I realize a successful track record of internship experience makes you a more promising candidate.”
His college experience and success in his current job landed Mike the PRSA award that was presented by Michelle Flowers Welch, Chairman & CEO, Flowers Communications Group. Michelle explained that Mike’s counsel has resulted in many award-winning public relations programs—from gaining paid sick days for workers in Chicago, to connecting Mexican men in Chicago with HIV testing and care services, to providing free breakfast to more than 175,000 more Illinois school children whose last hot meal had been yesterday’s school lunch. He also sparked the re-boot of the Pav YMCA Teen Leadership Club in Chicago and volunteers his time to help others interested in public relations as a career.