Most people find their way into the PR agency world via the tried and tested internship. I was fortunate enough to work with some extremely talented, generous and supportive people with both of my internships and even luckier that a job materialized out of the first one.
If you’re a PR student and have just snagged yourself an internship of your own, here’s my duffer’s guide to making the most out of it.
- Don’t wait for the work to find you – there’s stuff to do, you just need to search it out.
- Ask as many questions and get as much feedback as you can.
- If you’re given a complicated assignment, see the above point. You may be in possession of a freshly minted degree, but it just may be possible that these guys know a few things. As Leo said, use all the resources at your disposal to get your job done.
- Go to as many meetings, brainstorms and out of work gatherings as possible. If you want to get a job out the internship, you’ll need to get some face time with the decision makers. Not easy for someone as introverted as me, but certainly doable. It could be as easy as going to get a sandwich with colleagues…
- You’ll probably have more time to get your work done so why not go that extra mile and add some real value to your projects? Instead of just doing a Factiva search on a new business proposal, add in SWOT and PEST charts.
- When going to brainstorms, come up with two or three ideas along with a robust rationale. Even if the idea won’t fly, people will be impressed with your creativity.
- Suck it up. PR is painted as a glamorous profession but you won’t think that way when you’re transcribing the Borough of Camden’s electoral roll from a poor quality fax into Excel – especially when you find out it could’ve been emailed to you for an extra £10. To cut a long story short, you’ll have some boring jobs to do, and it’s in your best interests to do them as well as possible.
- Bring the energy. You’re one of the newest recruits, you’re one of the youngest people in the office, why shouldn’t you be a little bit cheeky and have some fun while you’re there. Your potential colleagues will appreciate it!
- Say thank you. A quick email to say thanks for the experience should leave a good, lasting impression unlike Dan Klein.
Finally, a cautionary tale. If you aren’t given anything and are quickly getting bored, don’t experiment with the internal email system. When I was at Weber Shandwick|GJW (a UK public affairs agency) I was told about an intern who discovered the “clients all” email list and sent out a particularly foul mouthed diatribe bemoaning his boredom and the poor quality of work he was submitting, and that was being billed back to the clients. Probably not a great idea…
A bonus tip. Why not start an industry blog?
Any other tips from your internship? How about the senior PRs – what tips do you have for those starting internships? Answers, as always, in the comments section.
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