By Molly Guendert
Being a college student is no walk in the park. Not only do we have to do a ton of work while in school, but then we have to worry about getting jobs after graduation to pay back all of the debt we’ve accumulated. Getting a job won’t be easy either. There are thousands of other students graduating with you, and a good amount of them are looking for a job in the same field as you. So here’s the big question: what can you do to make yourself stand out to an employer? Luckily I have the answer, internships! I was lucky enough to be the Milwaukee County Zoo’s public relations and social media intern last summer, and it was an incredible experience.
Hands on experience
Internships are a great way to get hands on experience in your field of interest. My bosses were experts in the PR field and I learned a great amount from them during my time as an intern. They taught me things such as how to write a proper news release, how to work with other professionals in the field and how news conferences function. I also got to attend meetings with them so I could get a taste of how the PR department interacted with other departments, such as the creative department and the zookeepers, at the zoo. The things that I learned from my internship are not things that could be learned in class or from a book.
Applying your skills
In addition to learning new things at my internship, I also got to apply skills I have already perfected. An example of this is that I created and maintained the zoo’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, since they did not have these. I knew more about what people would want to see on these pages than my bosses, so they gave me the freedom to post what I saw fit. In my three months at the zoo, the Facebook page I created went from zero likes to 430 likes and is still growing. Not only was this a great opportunity for the zoo, but also it was incredibly rewarding to watch the zoo’s social media presence grow.
The importance of internships
Some college students don’t realize how important internships are. According to Aramark, students who have completed at least one internship during their college time had a 60 percent better chance of landing a full-time job straight out of college than those who didn’t. Students who’ve completed two internships had a 90 percent chance, and those who held three internships had a 100 percent chance of full-time employment. Reading these numbers should encourage you to get out there and find internships, because they are great experiences that can only help you down the road!