by Ambria Paul
Often when someone thinks of a public relations internship, they might envision an agency, firm, or corporate office setting. However, I took a unique route with the opportunity to intern at the Chick-fil-A Lee’s Summit location, which paved the way for my summer hands-on experience. An active PR team can help any organization. Knowledge gained about tailoring PR strategies to align with what is seemingly a “different” internship approach is beneficial.
New opportunities, new promotions
I was granted this opportunity because restaurant had a desire for new promotion strategies. The owner created this internship for me, as other Chick-fil-A chains do not typically hire PR interns. With such a unique opportunity, I was able to use my PR skills in a non-traditional way.
Chick-fil-A’s back office quickly became my new home and the owner and manager of the restaurant were the main points of contact. As employees referred to me as “the intern,” little was known of the specific duties I performed. My three key responsibilities were:
- consumer relations
- social media management
- strategic event planning
I was able to be a bridge between the restaurant and its customers through its C.A.R.E.S program, which gave them the opportunity to provide feedback on their dining experiences. Whether positive or negative, I personally responded to customer input via mail. Having this system not only shed light on what the restaurant needed to reinforce or improve on, but also gave consumers a feeling of value for their feedback.
Social Media Management
Prior to my arrival, the restaurant’s Facebook page was the sole method for promotions online, but with it only being sporadically updated by different employees, I was assigned to revamp it. I also launched Twitter and Instagram pages. Because families are the restaurant’s key public, the Facebook page was more successful in reaching stay-at-home mothers and parents of small children. The social media pages were used to promote new products and events the restaurant hosted. Opportunities for feedback and suggestions also were provided so interaction increased, particularly on the Facebook page.
Strategic Event Planning
This Chick-fil-A restaurant, independent of the larger organization, hosts many events. I was involved in coordinating these events alongside the owner and manager. Careful consideration went into planning when to promote, how (flyers), at what time (dinner hours worked best) and for whom the event would cater to (family event, children’s event). Budgeting for decorations and costs of flyers given out were also discussed. Such events included Princess Family Night, Superhero Night, Cow Appreciation Day, and Receipt Day. I pitched these events to the Lee’s Summit Journal and the Lee’s Summit Tribune. Creating and maintaining these media relationships placed a spotlight on the restaurant that was always readily available in time for the next event.
Searching for an internship can be challenging. It is important not to have a one-track mind within your search. Think outside of the box, consider opportunities that are not widely posted or known. Every organization needs a PR team. You already have the proper skills and understand strategies to perform PR duties; using these abilities in a nontraditional environment will help you grow as a PR professional.
By Jeremy Noble
Internships can give PR students more than just an opportunity to gain real world experience. They provide students with a chance to network with professionals. My personal experience with the Mid-Missouri Outlaws was valuable. The Mid-Missouri Outlaws are a Professional Indoor Football Organization that is committed to providing central Missouri with an outstanding venue for sports entertainment and an economic boost to the area. I managed all of the team’s social media, planned the Champions Professional Indoor Football League Kickoff, and generated sponsorships.
Mid-Missouri Outlaws helped me prepare for the real world. Working with the professional team is a really good learning experience for a college student who isn’t sure what area of the industry they’re best suited for. The Outlaws helped me realize what it is like to network with professional broadcasters. The broadcasters taught me how to communicate to sport broadcasters. I learned a lot about the marketing and business side of a sports organization. I was taught how to gain team sponsorships through different businesses and how to market a team’s brand to the community. This has made me more marketable to employers. Attending the national conferences and professional meetings helped me understand the power behind an organization.
Learning to Network
I feel more comfortable going up to professionals and trying to communicate with them at an event that is taking place. I learned to be the first person who makes that initial contact. It’s helped me become more professional because it did feel like a job, not like a standard class. You are able to learn a lot from the professionals with in a sports team. I was able to network and gain contacts in the process.
I would recommend an internship with a professional sports team to anyone, especially for anyone interested in the sports area of the public relations field. I have learned so much from this internship and it has provided me with a part time social media job with United States Football Network.
Through my internship with the Outlaws I was able to network with different team owners and I was able to get a job with USFBN updating social media and managing client accounts. Learning about sports marketing and social media in my internship is something that prepared me for my job with USFBN.
By Breann Roettering
It is about that time of year when students are graduating from college and are ready to start the next chapter in their life. That next chapter could be anything from graduate school to starting a career. This is also the time of year when students start searching for internships to get work experience.
Marketing yourself is very important when applying for any position. You need to stand out compared to your competition and the first step in doing so is building your resume. Make sure you have a professional resume that highlights your strengths as future employee.
The next step is creating a LinkedIn account. If you do not have an account yet, create one. Do not wait. On LinkedIn you can post your qualifications, make connections and apply for your dream jobs. This is a great resource to start with when entering the job market. Let this be your professional social media account and send all of your future employers to your profile. This is a source for them to get another view of who you are and to see other qualities you can bring to the table. To make your profile stand out I would suggest having your past employers and instructors endorse you skill sets. I would also suggest asking them to write recommendations for you passed on their experience working with you.
The Internet is a great place to start the job search. Students and professionals find Indeed.com and Snagajob.com to be helpful. These sites allow you to search for your field of choice and pick the location. As you start searching for a public relations job you may find that you do not get the results you were hoping for. Get creative and widen your search terms from PR to marketing, social media coordinator or communications. You will meet the requirements for several of these positions with a PR degree and from my own experience this has lead me to more job opportunities.
The Internet is not the only place to search for jobs though. Do not let this be the only place you search and market yourself. Build your connections through other sources and get creative. Here are 10 Unconventional and Creative Ways to Find a PR Job:
1. Contact everyone you know.
2. Edit your LinkedIn profile.
3. Edit all your social media profiles.
4. Create a landing page.
5. Run social ads.
6. Run Google Adwords.
7. Create Twitter list.
8. Subscribe to blogs.
9. Read and respond to HARO queries.
10. Ramp up your content.
Leave your mark
My last piece of advice is to shine at everything you do. Make sure you show dedication and a positive attitude at every job you have, even during your college career. Be willing to take on a challenge and work hard to achieve it the ending goal. At times you will fail and know it is okay, but you have to get back up and work ten times harder to not make the same mistake again. Do not burn bridges. Leave your current place of employment or school positively because you never know when you may need a reference from a past employer or professor.
by Katie Johnson
It is hard to believe the fall semester is in full swing, especially for the Public Relations Student Society Association (PRSSA). What better way to mingle with other people who are in the same major, but have interests in different areas of the field, while having a slice of pizza? PRSSA decided to kick off the semester on the right foot by having its annual social at Fitter’s in downtown Warrensburg.
This was a great way for prospective public relations students to become acquainted with the program as well as welcome back public relations students already in the program. Not only was this an opportunity for students to socialize, but a chance to meet the instructors and get to know the PRSSA executive board.
President Sadie Hicks informed everyone that the general body meetings will be held every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in Wood 205. Everyone was given a copy of the schedule so they’ll know of any special events that may be held during meetings.
Sadie also talked about the benefits to becoming a dues paying member. Dues paying members receive additional benefits such as having the opportunity to attend a tour of a public relation firm, attend AP style workshops, resume building workshops, and much more. It is a $60 fee to be able to participate in these extra activities.
The rest of the team
Along with Sadie, the rest of the executive board was introduced along with a giving little description about what they do. We got to meet Vice President Brooklyn Lutz, Secretary Jillian Berger, Treasure Katelyn Doyle, promotions chair Jeremy Noble, philanthropy chair Shelby Wells, historian De-Ann Warren, Intern and Career chair Cole Braun, fundraising chair Maria Schomer, and social media chair James Riddle.
Importance of internships
After brief introductions from the executive board, the internships and careers coordinator, Cole Braun, elaborated on his position. As many of the attendees at the social were majoring in public relations, which requires an internship before graduation, it was very helpful to know there is a specific position to assist students in what can be a very difficult search. Cole talked about how he would keep members informed about internships that would be available, how to look for an internship, and any other questions that people may have regarding the process.
It was a great turn out with a lot of beneficial information regarding the upcoming year. This was a great chance to hear about how each person can become more involved with public relations and the benefits of doing so.