Internship Advice

March 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm (Assignments, PRCA 3711)

I asked UGA graduate, Lindley Curtis what advice she had for PR students completing an internship. This is what she had to say:

No matter what type of PR internship you have, you should always do the following five things:

1. Ask questions often. If you are not sure how to do something, ask. It takes more time to redo something if you don’t do it right. By asking questions you get to learn more about the business and your boss can tell that you are interested in learning how to do it right…the first time. Also, always ask if you can sit in on meetings with/about clients because it will enable you to have a better understanding of your work and why y’all are doing certain assignments. Always ask to take the first whack at writing a release because your enthusiasm will be appreciated, and who knows, your work, might just be what gets to be used. You also have a better understandig of the client/project and the project’s edits if you had a hand in it from inception. Just as you should research the company/agency/organization before you apply for the internship, continue to research always so maybe you can teach your team new things about your clients!

2. Welcome challenges. If you’ve been at an internship for 3 weeks, and all you have done is draft releases, let your boss know that you are interested in doing more. Show them what else you can do. It is important to make yourself as marketable as possible by gaining experience with writing, editing, pitching, social media, event planning, media list compiling and distribution, etc.

3. Look for opportunities for your clients/organization–your boss/team and client will appreciate it. This can be done by staying abreast on the current news, technologies, etc. Register with HARO (Help A Reporter Out), so that you can get listings of editorial needs that might be ablicable to your organization or a client. One easy thing to do (in the Atlanta area) if you’re doing PR for a nonprofit organization is Mugs in the Morning with 11Alive news–it’s easy and always gets picked up. Your boss will be impressed that you are looking for opportunities for your client/organization.

4. Learn the new technologies. Companies/agencies/clients are always looking to stay on top of new trends and using them correctly. Make sure that you have the best understanding of how to tweet, when you should use a Facebook group page instead of a Facebook fan page, how to upload to YouTube, etc. The older people working right now are not as familiar with this technologies as we are, and by having a strong understanding of how they work, we can lead up to help them better understand. (The same goes for learning and knowing AP style because it is different today than what it was when your boss first learned it and it is always changing, hence the new stylebook every year!)

5. Make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t be too sensitive if a release you wrote gets torn to shreds. The person who tore your release to shreds has been there before. If you don’t understand what was wrong with what you did, ask questions–it shows you want to make it better and it will help you learn for next time.

I asked Georgia Southern University graduate, Christina Evans what advice she would give to students completing an internship. Here is what she had to say:

  • NO matter what, give your all. Whether the internship is for school credit, experience, or money, make sure you give everything you have into the work you are producing. These employers will be your future references and will be honest about how they think you performed while working for them.
  • Ask questions. They don’t expect you to know everything. An internship is a learning experience, you are there to learn, so don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know how to do something.
  • Do as much as you can to get the most out of your internship. You can choose to get as little or as much out of your internship as you would like. Volunteer to take on extra tasks. Not only does this show initiative, it also allows you to get that much more experience.
  • Finally, HAVE FUN! Although you are there to work, have as much fun doing what you are going to school for as you possibly can. I loved my internship and even though it ended up being something completely different than what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I had a great time and learned a lot.
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