Courtesy of PR News
When executed correctly, an internship can be an invaluable tool that provides young, aspiring PR professionals an authentic learning experience through observing, encountering and undergoing the responsibilities of the profession firsthand.
Not enough can be said about the role experience plays in the learning process. According to the Journal of Extension, “Learning opportunities providing a chance to ‘do’ or experience the educational input, and result in higher learning gains and retention.” In other words, a baseball player does not make it to the Major Leagues by simply reading about baseball.
The same goes for public relations. While education provides a deep background in PR, an internship will allow you to build upon that knowledge through practice. The best way to learn about the world of PR is by inserting yourself into it.
Alexandra Vucetic, The Brooks Group; Ashley Luisi, Deborah Hughes, Inc.; Charles Passero, Blanc & Otus; Marissa DeAngelis, Hunter PR; Michael Berndardini, DeFazio Communications; and Taylor Smith, Makovsky + Company are six young aspiring PR professionals currently interning. They share the following seven tips to help future PR interns make the most of their experience.
- Bring New Ideas: After years in the same position, people tend to get stuck in a routine. You have the opportunity to help break your supervisors of their habits and spark some creativity. Bring some new ideas to the table and be the breath of fresh air that both your supervisors and your company needs.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions: Your supervisors do not expect you to know everything. They understand you are an intern and they are there to help you learn. If you are confused or unclear about an assigned task, ask questions. It’s much better to get it right the first time than to learn the hard way. Your supervisors will appreciate your efforts to learn and adapt.
- Pay Attention to Detail: From formatting to simple e-mails, details are everything to an intern, especially in PR. Always check and double-check your work. This will help improve your content and save time for your supervisors.
- Show Your Personality: Your personality is probably one thing that really stood out during the interview process, so maintain your individuality. Not only will it remind your organization why it hired you, it will also help liven up the office and mold relationships with co-workers.
- Network, Network, Network: Get to know your co-workers. The connections you make at your internship could be the spark plug for your future career. Never underestimate the power of a business card.
- Go the Extra Mile: Stay 10 minutes later or get to work a little early. Always ask if there is something more you can do. Be the first to raise your hand and volunteer to help out with events. One way to wow your supervisors is by doing more than what’s expected.
Listen, Learn, Improve: As extremely passionate individuals, it is hard not to take criticism personally. You have to remember to listen to constructive criticism, learn from your mistakes and improve. Mistakes help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses.