By: Vanessa Lansdale (@vlansdale


Whether you’re a freshman starting your journey in college or a senior who is about to enter the advertising and public relations field, internships can be beneficial to almost any college student. An internship can help you get connected to the community, allow you to apply your skills to real-world situations, and help you grow as a professional.

However, if you’re just starting out in the advertising and public relations field and and don’t have much experience, don’t fret. Getting involved in organizations on campus and in the community could be the key to landing an internship. Believe me. That’s how I landed my first internship.

At the beginning of my sophomore year at Grand Valley, I had just declared my major as advertising and public relations. I wanted to learn more about the industry and grow as a professional, so I joined PRSSA. Not long after, I joined the Advertising and Public Relations Alumni Relations Committee and GVPRSSA’s executive board as the Director of Alumni Relations. Little did I know, these decisions would be key in helping me land my internship.

Long story short, after applying to internships and going through the interview process, it was my involvement in PRSSA that helped me stand out from other applicants. PRSSA gave me the opportunity to learn more about the industry, improve my skills, and become a leader – things my employer valued.

So, if you don’t have much experience in the advertising and public relations field, don’t worry. There are lots of opportunities to help you grow as a professional. Here’s some advice.

  1. Get involved. Seen a tweet about joining GrandPR or PRSSA? Get an email from an organization asking for volunteers? By joining organizations or volunteering your time in the community, you’re not only building your resume but also building your network and skills.
  2. Take notes. If you’re in PRSSA and hear a speaker providing some industry knowledge, write it down. From personal branding to nonprofit administration, the information you learn from speakers can be valuable in the future.
  3. Network. Met some new people at the organization you’re volunteering at? Add them on LinkedIn or ask them to grab coffee sometime. Growing your network can open a world of possibilities.

With the knowledge and experience gained by joining an organization, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in the advertising and public relations industry.



Vanessa Lansdale is senior at GVSU majoring in advertising and public relations with a double minor in nonprofit administration and photography. She channels her passion for nonprofits and love for West Michigan into her current internship as the marketing and web intern at Hello West Michigan. In her free time, you can find Vanessa camping, hiking, taking photographs, and going to concerts.