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Weber Shandwick Seattle is proud to bring back its intern blog post series that aims to help young professionals land and make the most of their PR agency internships. In our first series, interns gave the inside scoop on What They Didn’t Tell You about careers in PR. This time around, our rock star interns will take a look at how PR professionals can come from a variety of backgrounds. Below is the fifth post in the series – Getting the Green Light for an internship-how taking the “road less traveled” helped pave the way to a PR internship at Weber Shandwick Seattle.

If you told me four years ago that I’d be looking for a job in Seattle after graduation, I’d find it hard to believe. I had no intention of leaving my home-base of sunny Southern California, but given the opportunities I encountered during my undergraduate career, I found myself driving full-speed toward a Seattle internship at a leading global PR agency.

For me to get to where I am today was no easy feat. There were many twists and turns on my journey to obtaining the highly coveted PR internship, but as I reflect on the road I took to get here, reaching the finish line was that much sweeter. With the right amount of preparation, perseverance and dedication, you too can land an internship of your very own!

Get Ready… Racing for a Realistic Finish Line

“Where do you see yourself working in 10 years?”— That was the one ever-so-innocuous question I dreaded answering on college applications. Though I did not know where I’d be working in 10 years, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in PR, and knowing only that much helped me construct a realistic plan toward my career goals.

Halfway into my freshman year of college, I assessed my strengths and interests and decided to dedicate my studies to PR. Seeing as how I entered a college that didn’t offer a PR degree, I took a leap of faith and decided to spend my sophomore year at a local community college as I prepared to transfer to a university with a strong PR program. I transferred and eventually graduated from my dream school with a PR degree in hand. The key was setting attainable goals, and following through with the plan to reach these goals.

Get Set… Preparing to Get to Where You Want to Go

Though I attended three different colleges to get to where I wanted to be, my journey ultimately led me to a PR program that I knew would define my future. And as it turns out—it did! Through my school’s daily job and internship listings, I discovered Weber Shandwick Seattle. I proactively learned more about the Seattle office and became acquainted with their company blog (from which I write to you now!).

I did quite a bit of research before deciding to apply for an internship. Not only was I traveling 1,100 miles from home (1,158 miles to be exact), but entering an area as technology-rich as Seattle provided many PR opportunities within the tech industry. Learning about the office’s deep-rooted heritage and successes in technology PR (not to mention the many accolades the office has received) piqued my interest and propelled me toward the company.

Most of my greatest learning experiences that helped prepare me for my internship came from various volunteer opportunities, part time jobs and internships. Though I didn’t work directly in PR prior to my internship with Weber Shandwick, I still gained a handful of skills that transferred over seamlessly.

While working for a famous Hollywood Comedy Club, the fast-paced work and customer service taught me how to multitask, take constructive criticism and work well under pressure. As a former intern for a national retirement solutions firm, I independently familiarized myself with the industry and the company through research, which led me to provide my team with quality communications materials.  And when I served as the coordinator of a university culture show, it helped me adapt to work effectively with a team of diverse personalities and leadership styles.

Though work in LA versus work in Seattle has its similarities and differences, the multitude of learning experiences I’ve had in LA have translated well to my internship here.

Go! Going for the Gold

My college professors always said to start your PR career at an agency to get a comprehensive glimpse of PR, and they were right. Upon starting my internship here, I dove right in and currently support the teams of two globally recognized technology clients. I’ve already learned so many invaluable skills, from improved writing styles, to media relations and even pitching.

From building community relations through volunteer committees to an array of training sessions, I attempt to harness the many opportunities given to me during my internship and to make the most of my time here.

Now, I’m less than two months into my internship, and I already feel I’m equipped with more knowledge and understanding of the industry than they teach you in the classroom. Not only do I understand almost every reference in the iworkinpr blog, but each day here brings fresh, new learning experiences; and it reaffirms my decision of taking the “road less traveled” to enter the versatile and ever-changing PR industry.

Author—Chryst’l Sanchez graduated from the University of Southern California and is currently an intern at Weber Shandwick Seattle You can find out more about Chryst’l at her LinkedIn profile or by following her on Twitter.

Image courtesy of HowardLake.

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