School of Communication & Journalism

Internship Program Frequently Asked Questions

Click on each question to view the answer.

Who is the faculty supervisor for the Communication and Journalism internship program?

Ric Smith
PHONE: 334-844-2757
OFFICE: Tichenor 232C
EMAIL: smithrw@auburn.edu

What is the easiest way to find out about the internship program and its requirements?

Be sure to thoroughly read the internship packet for your major. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact the faculty supervisor, Ric Smith.

What kind of internship can I do?

It’s fairly wide open depending on your career goals. We require that the internship allow you to gain hands-on, practical experience appropriate for an entry level employee with a college degree. You should not be doing clerical work like filing and answering the phone. You are there to learn and grow. Also, the internship should be appropriate to the major.

Should I get approval of an internship before or after I am offered one?

It is always a good idea to discuss internships before you apply. You will, however, need to verify your internship after you accept it.

How can I find companies that are looking for interns?

There are a variety of ways. The best first step is to check the website. Be sure to take a look at the "Internship Opportunities" "Recent Internships" and "Student Internship Evaluations" links. You can also search for internships on job search engines or by going to a regular search engine and typing in key words like “public relations internship.” Feel free to see Ric Smith anytime for help. The program is designed for you to develop your own internship. We want you to gain a little “job finding” experience for that job search you’ll do when you graduate. But don’t ever think you’re out there all alone. We’ll do whatever we can to help, but you have to ask. If you don’t ask, we won’t know you need help.

How can I find a good internship?

That all depends on what you are interested in. Think about what you want to do and where you want to do it. That is really the first step in developing an internship. For example, if you want to move to Nashville and work with a PR agency, then identify those firms and contact them. Internships often turn into permanent jobs, so if you are in the market you want to live in, doing the type of things you want to do, then you’re off to a good start. Finding a good internship is all about doing your homework. Yes, there is homework with internships too. Start early. Be prepared. Learn what is out there. Don’t settle for the first thing that comes along and don’t put yourself in a last minute bind. Getting an internship is easy. The challenge is getting the internship that is best for your specific goals.

How do I contact them?

Do more homework. Check their website. Call and ask for information. Ask the receptionist for the name of the internship director and then speak to that person. Some companies are quite formal in the way they go about selecting interns. Others are very informal. It all depends on the company. You just have to get a feel for what they want. A cover letter in the body of an email with an attached resume is usually a good way to go about it. Always verify names and titles of people you write to. What you really want to do is set up an interview. Then you can show them what a wonderful person you are and convince them you will be an asset to the company. Always remember to look at things from their point of view. They want someone who is eager to learn, who is mature and motivated, who can contribute to the organization, who would qualify as a potential hire and who is pleasant to work with. Make sure they see those things in you.

You are strongly encouraged to contact the Career Center. This is their specialty and they are very good at what they do.

What should I know about cover letters and resumes?

The cover letter should be one page, and should be concise and well-written because it will be the first impression you make with a potential employer. Write your letter in a way that emphasizes your skills and how they relate to the position you desire. Also, mention something you know about the company. Don’t send a form letter. Sure, you can use a template, but make your letter specific to each company. Touch on the most outstanding activities and experiences on your resume. Close your letter by offering times when you will be available to interview. Then follow up with a call or email. Be assertive without being obnoxious. Resumes should also be one page and should highlight your accomplishments. You are encouraged to go to the Career Center in Martin Hall for help with resume building, letter writing and interview preparation. They are there to help you.

How do I prepare for the interview?

Do all of your homework about the company and think of questions to ask the interviewers. If you are prepared, they will be impressed. They want to know you are serious about the internship. Dress appropriately – it is always better to dress up than it is to dress down. Don’t wear excessive cologne or jewelry, as they may be distracting. Bring a notebook to take notes when the interviewer explains the position and bring a portfolio of examples of your work. Never speak negatively about former employers, or of others in general. Offer complete answers to the questions, but don’t take too long on any question. Be sure to follow up with a thank you note for every person you spoke with during the interview.

Will I be paid?

The reality for our majors is that you will probably not be paid as an intern. However, it is certainly okay if you are. Some organizations do pay, and that happens in various ways. Some pay an hourly rate. Others pay a stipend, say $500 for the semester. The organization may offer to pay parking and take you to lunch. This issue should be discussed during the interview, but it should not be the first question you ask.

What if I don’t have a place to live?

Companies often have realty information packets for employees new to the area. Ask for information or suggestions from the employer. If the internship program has a large number of interns, ask other interns if they need roommates to cut the cost of rent. Ultimately, you are responsible for your living arrangements.

What does the School expect of me during my internship?

You should be there every day you are scheduled to work and be on time. Treat the internship as a real job. Conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times. Do not spend excessive amounts of time on the computer checking email or making personal phone calls. If you feel your work load is too light, talk with your supervisor to ask what else you can do. Be a self-starter. Look for ways you can contribute. Your internship is important for a variety of reasons. You are learning. You are networking. You are building a reputation (good or bad). Overall, Auburn interns have a very good reputation. It is up to you to maintain it.

How do I know if I am doing a good job with my internship?

It is important to touch base with your supervisor regularly. You may find that you see your supervisor on a daily basis or maybe it will be once a week. Be sure to develop consistent communication. Ask if you are meeting expectations and what else you need to learn. Ask what you are doing well and what you need to improve on.

Since the internship is only a semester long, how can I make the most of my time?

Ask to attend staff meetings to see how the department or company works together as a whole. Ask to attend seminars for personal and leadership development. Visit employees in your department (and other departments) and conduct informational interviews, asking them about what they specifically do and what kind of background they have. Network within the company, because you never know when an internship might lead to a full-time position!

What assignments will I need to complete for the School during my internship?

You will be required to submit reports and examples of your work. The on-the-job supervisor will be asked to complete and end-of-term evaluation. Specific assignments and due dates will be posted on Canvas. In addition, you’ll receive e-mail reminders before assignments are due.

What pre-reqs and hours requirements should I know about?

The full description of course prerequisites and on-the-job hours is explained in the internship packet for your specific major.

Last Updated: July 06, 2015