Internships Are the ‘Deal Cards’ to Full-time PR Job

Internships are like pulling the Pass Go card in Monopoly.

In the board game, your chance of winning increases with each deal card you pull. Internships are the “deal cards” for landing a job in public relations.

This week, I heard from recruiters who were in the final review of potential intern candidates for summer and corporate agency and corporate positions. Each recruiter said she was focused on candidates who had prior internship or related work experience. One frankly said: “I don’t even look at resumes without at least one relevant internship.”

I also talked with three impressive students who were active in extra-curricular activities, student government and sororities. Each thought these activities would translate into internship-equivalent relevance during the job search process. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. One recruiter said she was impressed with the student’s collegiate involvement, but her agency requires hands-on PR experience outside of college activities or employment.

Ideally, students start internships while in college. Even then, their post-graduation PR careers almost always begin with internship assignments.

It’s almost impossible to “pass Go” into a full-time position without prior internship experience—sometimes multiple internships.

Fortunately, internships are no longer summer-centric. As the economy rebounds, demand for public relations services is creating a boom in internship opportunities. ZipRecruiter alone lists nearly 4,500 PR internships currently, with more than 100 in Chicago alone. lists more than 800 PR opportunities, and Glassdoor has postings for a few thousand more PR and marketing internships.

Guides to Landing PR Internships

This blog has provided tips ranging from work-from-home internships during the pandemic to advice from young pros who landed coveted internships.

If you’re struggling with how to go about writing the job-winning resume or cover letter – or interviewing, several posts here might help. In addition, be sure to check out one of my favorite resources from a nonprofit organization called Pay Our Interns. Here, you’ll find tips and templates for resumes, cover letters and interview advice.

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