I just returned from a quaint tavern, a short drive down the road from my aunt and uncle's house in West Chester, PA. Two of three of my older cousins, Meri and Kris, took me out with their friends for my last night here. Jessica, the middle cousin, lives in Minneappolis and air-fare expenses were not in her budget this Thanksgiving. All of my cousins have been out of college for at least four years. Meri is the communications director at the Matress Factory, a popular museum in Pittsburgh, and Kristen freelances, has just finished a travel book, and does research for the CIA.
We were discussing my internship applications because John, Kristens fiance, has been sending me a lot of information through e-mail about internships. John is the assistant sports editor for the Washington Times- needless to say I have a lot of support in my future journalism career.
I got a lot of advice from Meri, who assures me I'll have an internship at her museum if I have trouble finding one. I asked about cover letters, which Meri said should not be a narrative summary of a resume but rather a short description of myself and why I wish to intern for the publication I'm applying to. She said to include a reason why I would like to intern, for example, "I read such and such an article and was very impressed," etc.
She also said to research the publication I'm applying to intern for as much as possible. She was applying once for an internship at the University of Pittsburgh in one of the art builidings and her interviewee's first question was who was the dean of the building she was applying to intern in. Meri didn't know, and she didn't get the job. Clearly she learned from her mistakes, and now she's passing them on to me.
Kris told me to take initiative as an intern. She said when I complete an assignment, which will most likely seem to be dirt work (obituaries!), to ask if I can write more features or news stories. Meri added, saying that some of her interns will finish their filing or assignments and continue the rest of the day checking their e-mail or sitting in an idle state. Even though I may not get a big assignment, the editor will take note of my willingness to take on bigger responsibilities.
I feel much more confident now that I'm about to apply for internships. I just wanted to pass this information along because I know so many of my friends who are just as scared as I am. Take it to heart, these girls know what they're talking about! I hope everybody's had a relaxing break and a Happy Thanksgiving.