- Get the right internship for your desired field. This is an obvious first step. If you’re a PR student, you shouldn’t get an internship in professional sales (unless you’re going down some narrow avenue.) While it looks good on your resume to say you were interning for a huge firm, avoid the internships that simply require you to go on coffee runs and change the printer ink. Avoid internships that inhibit learning potential by being unfit or lack work. Stick with your major and take the tasks that prepare you for your future career.
- Ask all the questions needed, even the “stupid” questions. You’re working as an intern for a reason. You are learning to get the hang of the PR world and grab experience from every opportunity you can. The saying, “There are no stupid questions,” became popular for this reason. You should take every advantage you can fine to learn, from coffee breaks, lunches and mentoring with the manager. Plus, you want to get these embarrassing questions out of the way now before you get into the “realer world,” right? I enjoyed what Kelly Brokaw from the Hoffman Agency listed as some embarrassing, but much needed, questions in her blog post, asking what is appropriate to wear, if laptops in meetings are allowed and bringing versus eating out for lunch.
- Avoid bad habits. Whether it’s procrastinating or biting your fingernails, we all have a habit that eats away at us in the back of our mind. This is no different in the PR world, as we may over prioritize our impression and creativity rather than overall results. Always be aware of how you present yourself and how you are coming across in your internship. This isn’t just through your work, but also your body language. If you are slouching and looking around the room aimlessly during the job, as well as procrastinating on the actual work and relying on a mediocre finished product that gets the task done, you may come across with an idle image.
- Become a note taking extraordinaire. Take a pen and paper with you everywhere you go. Even in the scenarios you think are common sense, treat your internships like a class. Take down notes on everything you think you will need to remember; because it’s likely you will forget the details as soon as you leave the room. From talking to your manager to team meetings, pay close attention and jot down the important points in every discussion. With doing this, you will grab a vast amount of helpful information on other agencies and clients that could help you in the future.
- Look and act available for any line of work. Going back to the bad habits, to succeed at any job you must look available. Even if you aren’t doing well at the task, keep a smile on your face and understand this is only the beginning. While it isn’t always easy to create PR documents, the key to success is staying positive. Plus, it most likely means you are important, or at least respected, by the manager if you are being given challenging jobs. Take it as a semi-welcoming to the real world.
- Try your hardest at any task. Take your responsibility seriously. Too much down time is never a good thing. Prove you’re going above and beyond with the internship and use the times you would procrastinate (bad habits, again) to research trends, ask if team members need help on a task, organize the office, or pretty much just observe others working. I cannot stress enough how important it is to use your internships to really learn to the fullest. The standards of work you give yourself will permeate into your future career, so why not get a head start now?
All Stupid Questions. N.d. Demotivation. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://www.demotivation.us/all-stupid-questions-1259971.html>.
Brokaw, Kelly. “How to Conquer Your First Week as a PR Agency Intern – “What’s HAppening” Blog.” Whats HAppening Blog. The Hoffman Agency, 25 Aug. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://onlinepr-blog.com/how-to-conquer-your-first-week-as-a-pr-agency-intern/>.
Finish The Job. N.d. Fast Web. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://www.fastweb.com/career-planning/articles/end-your-internship-on-a-good-note>.
Hello My Name Is Intern. N.d. Snyder Group Inc. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://www.snydergroupinc.com/top-reasons-why-internships-are-good-for-businesses-and-students/>.
Seymour, Chris. “3 Bad Habits PR Pros Should Break to Be Taken Seriously as Business Leaders.” PR News. N.p., 19 Feb. 16. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2016/02/19/breaking-bad-pr-habits/>.