This success story is part of a series profiling people who leveraged their college internship experience into a full-time job. This interview features Shane Arman, a public relations professional.
Shane, what college did you attend?
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
What year did you graduate from college?
Where did you complete an internship?
I did 4 internships!
1. Boerner Botanical Gardens
2. Page Media, Inc.
3. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Integrated Marketing and Communications office
How did you find/land your internships?
For my first internship at Boerner Botanical Gardens, it was one of many places I called asking if they offered internships for younger college students. Having only completed my freshmen year of college, I had one interview and was hired.
My second internship at Page Media resulted from working at that company in the mail room for a few years and then impressing my boss when he randomly had me sit in on a client meeting. He eventually asked me if I needed internship credit and offered me the option to start assisting with client work.
At UW Oshkosh’s IMC office, I attended a media relations workshop, introduced myself to the presenter after the workshop and inquired about internships. She interviewed me and eventually hired me, where I ended up interning for 18 months from November 2008 to past graduation in late May 2010.
My last internship was post-grad at Burson-Marsteller in Chicago, Ill. (where I currently work full time) and I went through the long interview process which included multiple written assignments and multiple interviews. I found the post through searching Google for the top internships in public relations.
What type of work did you do during your internships?
Speaking of my most recent internship at Burson-Marsteller, I researched and wrote fact sheets, brainstormed and contributed creative ideas to new business pitches, developed original content for clients’ monthly e-newsletters, including the headline story, compiled targeted, industry specific media lists using Cision software.
I also participated in a final internship project where the team of interns responded to a client new business request for proposal. We competed against two other teams in the New York offices and we presented the final proposal to Burson-Marsteller executives, the actual client and the founding chairman of the company (and most influential PR figure of the 21st century), Harold Burson.
What was one significant thing you learned about working during your internship?
I learned how exciting it can be to work on a team with extremely intelligent people and how different and exciting every day of work is in the public relations industry.
How did your internship lead to a job offer?
My internship at Burson-Marsteller led to a full-time job offer after I started networking with others outside of my practice and looking to take on extra work that I was interested in. I interned in public affairs but was also interested in the brand marketing practice, so I started talking with colleagues in brand marketing and was given a few projects. When the internship ended, there were no openings in public affairs but brand marketing had opportunities. Because the brand marketing staff were familiar with the work I did and knew I was passionate about brand marketing work, they offered me a full-time position as a client staff assistant.
It might be interesting to note Burson-Marsteller was and is the ideal company I envisioned myself working at dating back to 2008. I applied for the internship program in 2009, got through all rounds of the interview process but no interns ended up being hired in 2009 so I was told to apply again for 2010. I kept in contact with the HR coordinator, sent in my application for 2010 and ended up interviewing with the same person in 2010 (who remembered me and ended up being my internship supervisor).
Any words of wisdom you would like to share with current college students?
Try to figure out what you want to do as early in college as possible. Although this may be obvious, the sooner you really know what you want to do, the sooner you can start gaining experience and building your resume to get your dream job.
Always look for opportunities to get involved in student organizations in college. I gained a plethora of knowledge, people skills and teamwork being in student organizations for three years. Student organizations allow you to take on leadership roles, network with potential employers and gain valuable experience that can set you up nicely for an internship.
Shane, thank you for sharing your experience and your advice.