Starting a public relations internship offers an amazing opportunity to learn new skills, make connections, and apply what you have been learning in the classroom to a real agency with real clients. After two semesters with BIGfish as an intern, I can definitely say I’ve learned a lot about how to get the most out of this experience. For PR students, internships are a crucial stepping stone into the real world of communications, and it is imperative to maximize every resource at your disposal! Here are a few tips I’ve learned along my journey.
1. Ask questions
In the first few weeks of your internship, you’ll learn new things at lightning speed. While this is exciting, it can be stressful and challenging to keep up with all your new responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out to your managers if you are struggling with a certain task or don’t understand an assignment. Your supervisors are there to help you and they want to do just that!
2. Lean in. You’re going to be overwhelmed and that’s okay!
When I started at BIGfish, my agency experience was limited and I was tasked with doing many things for the first time outside of the classroom. I’ve written countless pitches during my time at Boston University, but I had never sent one to a real reporter. In the beginning, you will absolutely be overwhelmed – but that’s a good thing! Lean into what is challenging, lean into the unknown – it means you’re acquiring new skills and learning through experience.
3. Meet everyone
Luckily at BIGfish, the team is small and tight-knit, so I’ve gotten to know everyone in the office pretty well. Whether you’re at a huge firm or a boutique agency, it’s important to get to know your coworkers! They can serve as mentors and as an important resource for advice during and after your internship.
4. Set clear goals and evaluate halfway through
At the start of your internship, be sure to write down some goals that outline exactly what you would like to achieve through your new position. Whether those goals include becoming more comfortable answering calls or mastering a new social media scheduling tool, it’s important to set these objectives early and continue working toward them throughout your program. Halfway through, it can be helpful to return to these goals and adjust or rework them to fit the current trajectory of your work. Checking in with yourself can be a valuable tool to maintain your focus and recenter yourself if necessary.
5. Keep a journal
Whether it means writing everything down in a notebook or posting regular benchmark updates to your LinkedIn page, a journal is a great way to keep track of all your achievements in your internship. Include the new apps you’ve learned to use, the pitch that got great feedback, or a tweet that performed really well. Not only is it a good method to monitor your progress, it can also serve as a reference when you’re adding all your new skills to your resume and new content to your portfolio!
6. Think outside of the box
A PR internship offers a great opportunity to get creative. Don’t be afraid to let your ideas be heard, because this is the best avenue for new opportunities. A new intern can bring a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective to the office. If you see an area where you can contribute something unique, be sure to speak up. You’ll be glad you did and so will your team!
7. Stay in touch
The PR world is smaller than you think! Making connections during your internship is crucial, but making sure those connections are maintained even after your program has ended is even more important. Stay in touch with your managers, mentors, and coworkers through LinkedIn, periodic email updates or over a quick coffee meeting. It’s never too early to start fostering a strong network of PR professionals!
Have any other tips we missed? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter! P.S. We are now accepting applications for our spring PR Internship! Learn more and apply here.