intern 2
By Colette Brown. Posted in Blog

We asked someone in our network to share their experience of applying for internships and placements in PR & Comms, no holds barred. This is what they had to say and may give food for thought for employers looking to the next generation of talent. Thanks to the candidate in question.


Applying for an Internship in PR and Comms

Taking your first step onto the career ladder is always tricky, but you would assume, at least I did, that an internship would be the perfect place to start and to put into practice all those things you were taught in 6th form ‘career sessions’.


I am currently a third-year student, studying Politics and International Relations, and on my placement year. I have secured a role in the PR and Comms industry which is absolutely where I knew I wanted to be, but for a sector that exists with the sole purpose of communicating, I was surprised by some of my experiences during the application process.


It transpires that applying for internships is harder than I first thought.


Throughout the application process for various junior and internship roles in PR and Comms, the two most common outcomes were a) not hearing back from the perspective employer at all and b) being told my lack of experience was the reason upon which they had decided to not progress.


It was discouraging to say the least.


Reading job descriptions, compiling a targeted CV, researching company information to create a job-specific cover letter takes time and it takes effort, and often, candidates are doing so for several roles at one time. In my case, I was applying for a placement position, whilst also studying for, and sitting second-year university exams. It’s a life lesson for sure, but a lot of plates to spin at once none the less.


I totally appreciate that when a company is hiring, there are numerous applications to be reviewed, mine is not the only one! However, to apply for a role and hear nothing back at all, sometimes chasing on a few occasions, is really challenging for those of us on this side of the fence and just trying to make a start.


I am not suggesting each candidate that doesn’t progress should be given an A4 description of why, but to hear from a human would just make a massive difference. A simple acknowledgement of receipt and a ‘sorry but we’re not progressing’ email would suffice. But instead, there’s often radio silence.


To hear nothing is in some ways, worse than a rejection. At least a rejection makes it clear where you stand, and you know it’s no longer a potential opportunity. It’s just a small thing that would make a big difference when applying for internships. Or probably for any job for that matter. I’ll let you know in a few years’ time.