Get Noticed at Your Internship! An interview with Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper.
September 23, 2011 | by

How can I get the boss to notice me?  Everyone says networking is important, but how can I network successfully with my colleagues?

College Lifestyles frequently receives these and similar job related questions via our social media mediums.  While it is stressed to students the importance ‘getting an internship’ and ‘having a standout resume,’ the ‘what to do when we get the internship or job’ is often neglected.  Many of us have aspirations of working for the company of our internship, or moving up to a VP position at the company we start working with the job title ‘assistant.’

How can one network?  How can I get noticed?  Instead of turning to the ‘silly’ questions of ‘What would you do with $80,000?’ taught by speed ‘networking/social’ classes, College Lifestyles turned to 2 experts in the magazine and public relations industry to answer questions on getting noticed at our internship and work.


Be Your Own Best Publicist by Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper

Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper have a combined 30-plus years experience in the public relations industry, having worked both in-house and on the agency side.  Kleiman is currently VP-public relations for Hearst Magazines, one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines.  Meryl Weinsaft Cooper is a co-founder and principal of Allen/Cooper Communications, a marketing, exhibitions and events company with a focus on art and lifestyle brands.  Both are authors of the book, Be Your Own Best Publicist:  Build Your Reputation, Make Yourself Indispensable, Promote Brand You.

(A Side Bar:  Be Your Own Best Publicist is used in lesson plans with the College Lifestyles interns due to its amazing, realistic content one can relate to in both work and personal life.  Mine is personally full of sticky notes and fully highlighted.)

Jessica and Meryl took time out of their busy schedule to answer our questions and put us at ease on getting noticed at internship/work.

CL:  What are simple tips you would suggest for interns and entry level job applicants to get noticed by the boss?

Jessica and Meryl: Get to work on time (or, even better yet, early), dress professionally and volunteer to help with whatever assignments the team has for you.  Most importantly, do every task — even if it’s menial — with a smile on your face.  If you have questions about how to do something, ask!  Better to ask once and do it right than try to figure it out on your own and do it wrong. Lastly, before the internship is over, see if you can get on the boss’ calendar to get feedback on your performance and, if he or she was pleased, request a reference letter.

CL: What are simple networking tips on getting to know co-workers/other interns?

Jessica and Meryl:  Be friendly and don’t be afraid to ask the people you work with to meet for coffee or lunch. Most interns are in the same position you are — they’re new to the company and want to do a good job. It’s better to support one another than compete with one another. If you’re going to ask a full-time employee to meet, be respectful of their time and offer to meet when it’s convenient for them.

CL: What is your opinion on ‘cleaning up’ social media sites while an intern/entry level worker?

Jessica and Meryl:  We are big proponents of scrubbing your social media profile to get rid of anything you wouldn’t want a boss (or your grandma, for that matter!) to see. Take down the pics of you drinking from a beer bong or scantily clad — no employer wants to see that. In fact, a recent Mashable poll shows that at least 45 percent of HR pros are now checking potential hires’ social media presence so, even if you’re still in college, keep in mind that an inappropriate post on Facebook or Twitter could stand in the way of you landing that awesome internship.

CL: Your opinion on facebook ‘friending’ a boss or supervisor?

Jessica and Meryl:  It depends on your relationship with your boss but generally we’re not huge fans of it. While you should treat every social media platform as part of your public profile, Facebook does tend to be used for more personal information and connections versus Twitter and LinkedIn, for example. If you do accept your boss as a ‘friend’, be hyper-aware of what you post (i.e. don’t call in sick and then post a photo of you at the beach!) or filter what they can and can’t see on your profile.

Stay connected with Jessica and Meryl through their website Be Your Own Best Publicist.

To order a copy of Be Your Own Best Publicist, follow this link to Amazon.

Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper

Jessica Kleiman is currently VP-public relations for Hearst Magazines, one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines. She has guest lectured about publicity at NYU and the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Columbia University and has written for various newspapers, Web sites and magazines.  A graduate of University of Michigan with a BA in Communication, she started her career at a magazine publicity firm and then served as director of PR at The Knot, a wedding media company. Kleiman lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and daughter and enjoys posting words she finds funny on Twitter, Facebook and her blog, Funny Word of the Day.

Meryl Weinsaft Cooper is a co-founder and principal of Allen/Cooper Communications, a marketing, exhibitions and events company with a focus on art and lifestyle brands.  Previously, as managing director  of the DeVries Public Relations‘ Home & Lifestyle division and as SVP-Partner at LaForce+Stevens, she led programs for a variety of hospitality and consumer brands including Veuve Clicquot, Viceroy Hotels, Vikram Chatwal Hotels, BR Guest Restaurants, Tourism New South Wales, Magnolia Bakery, Belvedere Vodka, Pepperidge Farm, Samuel Adams Beer, New Amsterdam Gin and Ecco Domani Wines.  A graduate of Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications, her PR experience includes stints in art, music and entertainment, including time at the Screen Actors Guild’s New York office.  She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and dog, and spends her spare time writing and producing films as well as seeking out the best culinary, travel and art experiences, which she documents in her blog, Searching for Jake Ryan.

Both authors are contributing bloggers on Forbes.com’s Work in Progress section.

About Author

Shelly Marie Redmond, MS, RD, LDN is the founder and CEO/Editor in Chief of College Lifestyles. You can follower her on twitter @shellymarierd.

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