The search for an internship or that first job can be exhausting and feel like you’re stuck in the monotonous loop of applying for position after position. The job market is tough right now, and securing your internship or first job can become draining. As the chair of our hiring and onboarding committee here at Martin Waymire, I want to walk you through some tips for the hiring process and provide some of my best advice, combined with advice from our spring semester student practitioners.
It’s all in the details
Your first impression comes in the form of the resume and cover letter so be sure to address the cover letter to the person listed in the job description. We always share a name and email so it should never be addressed to “hiring manager” or another generic term if you have access to a name. Check the position posting and company website to see if you can find a name for personalizing your application, in the event it’s not immediately provided to you.
Double-check, triple-check your resume and cover letter, and ask a friend or family member to review it. These materials should be free of spelling errors, typos and any outdated information.
Approaching the interview process
As a part of our hiring process, we ask students to work on writing and social media tests. Treat these very seriously and set aside sufficient time to provide your best possible work product. These mirror some of the tactical work that you’ll do in your internship, so they provide insight into what we can expect from someone. As a firm founded by two journalists, we take writing very seriously. Writing is difficult, but it’s an essential skill often at the foundation of the work we do.
Nailing your interview takes practice and confidence. It’s okay to be nervous, most everyone is! Try to do your best to accurately represent yourself and let your personality and your passion shine through. Come prepared! Do your research ahead of time, and be able to reference work by the company that was particularly interesting to you, or a company client that caught your eye. Ask questions! Whether it’s a logistical question, one about our personal experiences with the company, or what we’re looking for in the role, always have questions to ask. After an interview, make sure to follow up via email. Not only is that a professional courtesy, but we want to know that you want this job.
Try to look for a job where you’ll be passionate about the work you do
We want you to be interested in our work and our clients. Show us that you’re excited about the opportunity to join our team and that you care about the work that we’re doing to make Michigan a better place. One of my favorite things about working at Martin Waymire is the people, and the way that everybody shows up and loves what they do day in and day out. We want team members that share that excitement.
We all have days where we feel tired and drained, but at the end of the day, we all pack up our things and go home knowing that we’ve done good work that will help communities across Michigan, and we want you to echo that same passion for what you accomplish in your internship.
Thriving in your new role: Excellence, teamwork, balance, and growth
Those are our core values at Martin Waymire. Excellence means that we want you to give our team and clients your best, in the strategies, tactics, and execution that you support on. You’re working alongside our team members to deliver high-quality work and provide the best level of service possible. We don’t have student practitioners to grab us coffee and watch us work. Our students truly jump in headfirst to execute public relations strategies and tactics, just like every other member of our team.
We firmly believe that working together as a team provides the best work for our clients. You’ll never find yourself working alone or feeling thrown into something without support. Teamwork is engrained in each of us, and we want to hire students who are ready to be members of that team. You’ll have the autonomy to take on projects and get your work done independently, while working with your team members to ask questions, collaborate, be inspired and achieve meaningful results for our clients.
Balance is essential, especially as a student. We firmly believe that you are a student first, and then a student practitioner with Martin Waymire. That means that we work around your class schedule and want you to prioritize homework and projects, so that at the end of the day, you can give your internship your all. Balance means excelling in your professional life, but not sacrificing time with friends and family or your personal life. Balance is often something that all of our team members are working on, so that means showing up for one another and supporting each other, because balance is hard work.
And finally, growth. This value means a lot to me in our internship program, because while you are employed at Martin Waymire, you’re not just doing work for us, you’re working on yourself and striving to become the best PR practitioner that you can be. We want you to be curious – ask questions, raise your hand to support on a new project that piques your interest, and always be listening. An internship is just as much, if not more so, about your own personal and professional growth, and we work alongside you to help you learn and grow so that you can be the strongest PR practitioner wherever your career takes you.
Read advice from our spring semester student practitioners, and parting words from our previous summer student practitioners.