Careers and Internships
P2W graduates can be found holding a wide range of job titles, working in a variety of industries including the editing and publishing industry, as communication managers for nonprofits, doing grant writing, content management, web design and development, developing social media strategies, handling public relations, marketing, and community relations, as technical writers, user experience researchers, account managers, technical editors and writers . . . and much more.
More specifically, some P2W graduates have obtained work with the following:
- Web Communications Specialist at Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota
- Senior Webmaster at Ticketmaster
- Copy Editor at Popular Mechanics
- Assistant Editor at Penguin Random House
- User Experience Researcher at Thomson Reuters
- Design Technologist at Amazon
- Copywriter at Duffey Petroskey
- Global Campaign Strategist at Uber
- Technical Writer at Jackson National
- Foundation Development Manager at Detroit Public Television
- TV Lit Assistant at Verve Talent & Literary Agency
- Grants Administrator at SmithBucklin
- Communications Coordinator at Association of American Medical Colleges
- Client Solutions Manager at Facebook
- Writer & Content Strategist at Strava
The Professional and Public Writing major focuses on connecting classroom learning to professional experiences. Most P2W majors complete at least two internships, typically during their junior and senior years after completing the P2W core courses. Many students actually complete three or more high-value internships before they graduate.
P2W courses provide students with skills and knowledge that make them competitive for a wide range of internships, literally all around the world. These internship experiences might last an entire semester or be project-based; they might be based in East Lansing, New York City, London, or be conducted online; they might involve working for a local nonprofit organization, an international publishing company, or a startup design firm. Many P2W internships are paid.
What do P2Wers actually do in their internships? Here’s a short list of recent job titles for P2W interns:
- Communication and Development Intern
- Content Management Intern
- Copy Editor
- Design Intern
- Digital Marketing Intern
- Editorial Intern
- Graphic Design Intern
- Marketing Intern
- PR Intern
- Social Media Intern
- Technical Writing Intern
- Video Production Intern
- Web Development Intern
- Writing Intern
The P2W program maintains a strong network of alums who share experiences and contacts. Dr. Jonathan Ritz, a P2W faculty member who serves as an academic and professional advisor, is also the P2W internship education coordinator. Every semester he offers workshops and one-on-one advising to help connect P2W students to the best available internship opportunities. More information about internship opportunities can also be discovered by contacting Victoria Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Are internships required for P2W (Professional Writing) majors?
No, but we strongly (strongly!) encourage you to complete at least two internships or similar professional development experiences before you graduate. We recommend this because
– Internships provide a crucial opportunity to connect your classroom learning to the professional world
– Internships can help you to figure out what types of jobs you want (and don’t want) to pursue
– They are important for landing your first job. These days, employers want to hire people who’ve already proven they can thrive in a professional environment, even for entry-level positions. A college graduate who has no experience outside the classroom will be at a disadvantage.
2. Will the P2W program find an internship for me?
No, but we will connect you to resources that allow you to find available opportunities, and we can work with you to prepare key application materials such as resumes and cover letters. We maintain a robust network of alums and partner organizations who often send us internship postings; in many instances, they are specifically looking to hire P2W majors.
3. What counts as an internship?
Because internships are not a formal requirement of the P2W program, we have no specific criteria for what makes something count as an internship, but here are a couple of general guidelines to use.
-You should intern with an established organization or business that has a physical workspace or well-integrated digital workspace. If you are telecommuting, you should have regular access to your supervisor(s) to get assignments and feedback.
-Your job duties should primarily involve professional writing-related tasks, not general office tasks such as answering phones, filing, running errands, or doing data entry.
By the way, your position might not actually be called an “internship,” but a job, project, freelance assignment, or something else. That doesn’t matter; the above criteria are what counts. If you’re ever unsure if an internship opportunity seems worthwhile, feel free to contact Dr. Ritz to discuss it.
4. Is there a way to do an internship as part of a study abroad or study away program?
Yes! Each summer the P2W program runs an internship program in London. Students who enroll are placed into a high-value P2W internship, provided with room and board, and complete 6 credits of P2W courses. The College of Arts and Letters also offers programs that will place you in an internship and secure housing for you other US cities and abroad.
5. How soon should I apply for my first internship?
We recommend that you to begin applying for P2W internships as soon as you have completed WRA 202, WRA 210, and WRA 360.
6. What time of year should I apply for an internship?
You can apply year round. Applications for summer internships typically open after January 1 and run through the spring. There are also internships available on campus and in the Lansing region during the fall and spring semesters. Application deadlines for these vary, though typically they run anywhere from three months to one week prior to the start of the semester.
7. Can I be paid for an internship?
Many internships are paid, typically in the $8-10/hr range. There are still many unpaid internships as well, especially in major cities where there are larger pools of applicants. If you complete an unpaid internship as an MSU student you can also apply for a grant through the MSU Federal Credit Union.
8. Is there a way to get course credit for my internship?
Yes. You can enroll in WRA 493 Professional Writing Internship concurrently with your internship. WRA 493 is online, asynchronous, and class activities are designed to help you get the most out of the internship, especially in terms of preparing to represent the internship when you hit the job market. You can take the course for 1-3 credits, and it can count as one of your 3 required P2W electives.
9. Some internships are designed for students who already have experience. How can I get that experience before I’ve interned anywhere?
It’s an age-old conundrum: How do you get work experience when organizations only want to hire people who already have it? As a P2W student you have two constructive ways to solve this riddle. In your P2W core courses you’ll gain skills and knowledge that are directly relatable to many P2W internships. You also have the opportunity to work on a P2W Project Team. These teams are no- experience-required and are open to all P2W students. They give you a chance to learn and practice key P2W skills valued in many P2W internships and also provide an opportunity to gain a resume entry and P2W faculty reference. To get connected to a P2W Project Team, contact Dr. Ritz.
10. What are the best ways to diversify my internship experiences?
One of the advantages of doing multiple internships is that you can experience many different kinds of jobs and workplaces. Here are a number of ways to diversify your internship experiences:
-By location: For example, MSU campus; Lansing area; major US city; abroad
-By organization type: For example, MSU department/unit; small local business; state government office; national nonprofit organization
-By PW skill set: For example, web designer; social media strategist; copyeditor; technical writer
11. Is there anything I should do once my internship is over?
-Be sure to thank your supervisors and co-workers and find ways to bring them into your professional network through LinkedIn and other means.
– If appropriate, ask your supervisors for a review of your performance and ask if you may list them as references on your resume.
– Integrate your internship experience into professional materials such as your resume, cover letters, and portfolio. It’s a good idea to get some help with this, either from the MSU Career Services Department or by meeting with Dr. Ritz