The internship program at my former agency was an amazing experience.
Several interns became full-time staff, and it’s been a great way for coordinator-level people to learn about management.
If you’re a recent grad or someone who’s been lucky enough to land an internship in a PR shop this summer, here are five words to live by:
You don’t know everything (or very much) about PR, because it is a craft best learned by doing
. Listen way more than you talk. You’ll get more from your internship experience.
Pose lots of questions. No reasonable human expects an intern to know a ton. A few things I’d want to know: What do the managers read to stay up on this ever-changing industry? What do pros do to keep their basic PR skills—such as writing—sharp? How does an organization manage social media when multiple departments are involved? What techniques work when pitching reporters? And loads more.
You have to come to play every day. You want to go enjoy drinks in the summer sun? Totally fine. Just make sure that when you show up for work the next day you actually do some. I don’t give a damn that “it was a big one last night.”
It has to be appropriate and fit the setting. I know, you’re young and hot, but I assume you want to be known as more than that. Labels like “capable” or “competent” are nice, too. This is an office, not a night club.
There’s nothing more annoying than an egotistical newbie. A quiet confidence is fine, but please be humble. You will
be right sometimes, but you’ll certainly
be wrong a lot, too (especially at the start of your internship/career).
Hope this helps, and may you have a great internship this summer. Good luck!
A version of this story appeared on the blog, Proper Propaganda.This story first ran on PR Daily in April 2011.