BY: VICTORIA DELLACAVA
Internships are necessary for those interested in working in the public relations field because they allow you to gain the skills necessary to enter the field post-grad. As I prepare to graduate and become a PR professional, I’ve been looking back at my experiences as an intern and realize that I wouldn’t be as prepared for the real world without them. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to helped make your internship as impactful (for both you and your employer) as possible.
Know the PR lingo. PR is full or jargon, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you’re trying to pick up on all of it at once. Check out our PR Intern Glossary to familiarize yourself with some common PR lingo before you walk in on your first day!
Do research on every client/project you’re working on beforehand. Before you start or during your first week, take some time to familiarize yourself with the different clients or company’s you will be working with.
Familiarize yourself with the office space and culture. Where does everyone go to take their breaks? Where is the coffee machine? Where can you find a box and labels to send a package? Where is everyone’s favorite lunch/coffee spot in the area? The more familiar you are with the office and the culture, the more comfortable and confident you will feel working there.
Have downtime projects. Connect with your supervisor and other employees throughout your internship and see if there are any general projects that you could work on in your downtime. If they don’t give you any, take the initiative to do something on your own like write blog posts for the company’s website, draft social media content for clients or brainstorm new campaign ideas.
Be realistic about your timeline. If you’re ever feeling swamped, connect with your supervisor and see if they could help you prioritize your to-do list or give you some extra time for the less time-sensitive projects.
Take notes at every meeting. This is good for you to keep track of what is going on and for you to be a reference for others about what was discussed.
Make connections with everyone in the company that you can – especially those who you aren’t directly working with.
Use employees as a resource. Ask the people you are working with more about how they got to where they are and if they have any advice or feedback for you to become the best professional you can be. This also makes it easier maintain connections after your internship is over.
Spellcheck EVERYTHING. This includes everything from press releases, formal presentations and casual emails. If your name’s on it, you want to make sure that it is a positive representation of you and your work.
Save everything you worked on. This includes anything you wrote, such as pitches, press releases, social media content, blog posts, research projects and even meeting notes. Make sure you save them all and send them to yourself before the end of the internship so you can reference back to them and use them as writing samples in the future.
Have a project to hand in at the end of your internship. Some internship have this built into their program, but if not use this as an opportunity to show that you went above and beyond. This can include a research project, social media plan, an updated campaign strategy, etc.
Victoria Dellacava is a New York-native senior interpersonal communication major with minors in public policy, leadership and advertising. She served on the PRSSA-UD executive board as vice president of professional development, head of PRSSA-UD’s Outreach Committee and social media editor at The Review. To connect with her, follow her on twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or meet her for coffee at Brew HaHa!