Florida Trend NEXT: Tips from the Intern Queen

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Lauren Berger, 21, doesn’t mind working for free. It fact, she loves it.

The Clearwater native has completed 15 internships, mostly unpaid, in only three and a half years. In the end, Lauren has earned something priceless: experience that could help her get a job once she graduates from the University of Central Florida this May.

And the celebrity contacts don’t hurt either.

Lauren has covered major celebrity events including the Daytona 500, Donald Trump’s wedding, the MTV Video Music Awards in 2005, Lindsay Lohan’s New Year’s party and many others.

Her writing gigs have taken her around the world for publications like Nickelodeon magazine and Us Weekly. Lauren has interviewed stars, including Ryan Cabrerra, Gloria Estefan, Paris Hilton, Fergie (from Black Eyed Peas), Ashton Kutcher and Ashlee Simpson. She was most star-struck when she got to exercise next to Jessica Simpson, who was filming “The Dukes of Hazzard” in Louisiana.

Lauren, a communications major, was dubbed the “Intern Queen” by one of her employers because of all the internships she completed. But don’t call her an over-achiever. Anyone can do what she did, Lauren says.

“Write down what you want to do and how you’re going to get there. Seeing your goals on paper will make it easier to see them through.”

“I am by no means ‘Super Woman,’ and I have no special powers,” she says with a laugh. “You just have to be focused. Write down what you want to do and how you’re going to get there. Seeing your goals on paper will make it easier to see them through.”

Her knack for multitasking definitely helps. “I worked with my schedule so that I could do two or three internships at the same time,” she says. “It just takes planning.”

Lauren stays organized by writing down all of her freelancing obligations, school assignments and internship duties in her planner. Her BlackBerry gives her access to e-mail at all times.

She first interned at Zimmerman Agency Public Relations and Advertising in Tallahassee during her freshman year of college.

“I was attending Florida State University at that time and heard about a competitive internship the Zimmerman agency was offering,” Lauren says. “I learned that mostly juniors and seniors got it, but decided to try anyway.”

Lauren sent the agency her resume and told them she had no experience, but stressed that she was willing to learn all she could. She showed her persistence by repeatedly calling back about the position.

And it worked. Lauren left that first internship with a portfolio of press releases and more confidence. Since then, she has interned in New York City, Los Angeles and Orlando.

“I went to New York the summer after my freshman year and didn’t know anyone,” Lauren says. She lived in the New York University dorms, made friends and completed an internship with Backstage, a publication for actors.

I met in New York were older than me,” she says. “Now they have graduated and are working in the celebrity journalism industry. It’s great to know them as contacts and friends.”

Lauren credits her family’s support for her success. “My parents were behind me the whole way because they knew it would benefit my career,” she says. “Internships get you in the door, help you network, help you test out your interests and increase your chances of landing a great job.”

One insider tip Lauren likes to share is to make good use of business cards. “Anytime I get one, even if I just found one on the ground, I make it a point to e-mail the person right away,” she says. “I explain that I am a student and would love to sit down with the person to talk about his or her job, experiences and advice. I have had so much success with this.”

These days she is still interning, finishing her classes and even shopping for a publishing company for a book she wrote about interning.

MTV and Frommer’s Travel Guides picked her to contribute to a travel guide for students wanting to go to Europe. Lauren’s job was to test out hotels, restaurants, attractions and nightlife in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, and write about them. The book will be out in September 2006.

In addition to being a professional writer, Lauren is also a business owner. She has a consulting service that helps other students refine their resumes and cover letters to ultimately get an internship.

She recommends Princeton Review’s Internship Bible as a great place to start looking.

“Or just pick the companies that you would like to work for, call them and ask to speak to the internship coordinator,” Lauren says. “Some companies have very structured internship programs; others may not, but would love the help. It’s that simple.”

At first Lauren got tons of rejection letters, but her persistence paid off. “A rejection letter is one step closer to your goal,” she says. After she completed her first few internships, Lauren was able to obtain internships with MTV, FOX and CBS.

Upon graduating this spring, Lauren hopes to land a job in entertainment journalism, publicity or television.

“You have to start somewhere,” she says. “You may not get the internship of your dreams right away. But if you keep at it, you never know what can happen.”

Want to learn more about Lauren’s consulting service?
Visti http://www.internqueen.com/

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:40+00:00 December 21st, 2008|Categories: Blog, Samples|Tags: , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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