With a new semester on the horizon for aspiring PR pros, LPR’s Director of Account Service Christi Chesner shared some advice for communications students in the August issue of Texas Tech University’s College of Media & Communications Alumni Advantage newsletter. Read the original article here. You know the drill. To land that full-time job in communications after graduation, internship experience is a MUST. But, how do you get your foot in the door while competing against students who already have full resumes? It may be easier than you think.

Here are a few things you can start doing this semester to make yourself stand out when it comes time to apply for your first internship or job.

1. Be a Communicator for Your Organization

Photo Credit: Alan C.

Whether you're involved in a student organization or you have a part-time job at Chimy's, chances are you're connected to a group or company that would gladly accept your help with its website, social media, newsletter, video, etc. Volunteer to assist with communications and keep track of everything you do, particularly the results and impact of your efforts.

2. Take Every Assignment Seriously

Class Project

When you have a lot on your plate, it's easy to forget that each project on the syllabus is about more than just a grade. A news release or ad worthy of a B in the classroom might not make it past your supervisor's desk without a few rounds of revisions in the real world. To make the most of every assignment, look beyond the textbook for real-world examples to guide the quality of your work.

3. Build and Manage Your Own Brand

Brand Dev

One of the best ways to gain experience and position yourself as a great internship candidate is to take the time to work on your personal brand. You already know not to post things your parents wouldn't want to see on the Internet, but are you effectively using and managing your online presence to make yourself a more appealing internship candidate? Set up an online portfolio, use LinkedIn to start building your network, and leverage social media to follow and engage with professionals in your field. Prospective employers WILL Google you, and we'd much rather see your latest projects and interests than “no results.”

Whatever you do, don't get discouraged. Public relations  is one of very few career fields in which you can truly create your own opportunities to gain real-world experience as a student. Take advantage of it, and your internship application will definitely stand out among the rest.

Photos Courtesy of Alan C.Brad Flickinger and Stefano Principato via Flickr