Starting an internship can be quite overwhelming. It takes hours, days and weeks to craft the perfect resume and cover letter for countless companies, interview with intimidating PR professionals, and finalize summer plans. But after you’ve sealed the deal and have your perfect first day outfit ready to go, you may be left wondering “now what?”
Not to worry! I’ve created five simple guidelines that can be useful for any type of public relations internship (and many other types as well.)
1. Don’t be shy. Being the new kid in the office can be frightening, especially if you aren’t one that opens up easily in new environments. But a great way to get yourself acquainted with your surroundings is to introduce yourself to as many employees as you can. Making connections with your supervisors is extremely beneficial when it comes to networking, and the more mentors you have looking out for your success, the more successful you’ll be!
2. Be creative. The PR world often requires creative campaigns and strategies to keep clients’ news from becoming stale. As an intern, you are a fresh set of eyes that can be useful for the company in a number of ways. From press releases to monthly goals, dig through your brain for a new way to express something for your client, and offer additional outlooks for difficult projects. You can also check out plenty of articles on campaign tactics for inspiration.
3. Google, then ask. When you get assigned tasks that you’ve never had experience doing in the classroom, you may have a million questions and not know where to begin. Luckily, Google exists! Write down a list of general questions you might have, and then use Google to see what answers you can find. Some companies also have folders on each computer with previous similar projects, or a handbook with guidelines on how to complete the project. If you still have questions after researching, don’t be afraid to go to your boss. Chances are he or she expected you to ask anyway.
4. Everything matters. Although you may prefer some assignments to others, you should complete each project with detail, love and complete attention. Doing media research and compiling client lists are just as necessary as sending out media pitches and press releases, and if you care about it like it’s a real job- it may just become one!
5. Learn something. Internships are the perfect opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a professional public relations environment. Each day offers something new to learn and extra skills to gain for post-graduation. If nothing else, jot down all of the work you did throughout your time as an intern, and use that as a talking point for future interviews with desired employers.
Each internship may be different, and every company has a unique way of running things, but stick to these general tips and there’s no way you can go wrong!