Starting a public relations internship is an exciting opportunity, however it can be nerve-racking at times — especially if you are new to the industry. As an intern at LCWA, I’d love to offer some advice to help you hit the ground running and stand out as a rock star intern.
- Know your clients. Every client is different, and you won’t be an expert after just one Google search. Take a deep dive into your client’s website and spend time digging through previous projects on file to better understand their work, target audience, key messaging and industry. The more you know about your client, the better the quality of work you will deliver.
- Take notes. As an industry newbie, a lot can be thrown at you all at once. It might be a no brainer, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it again—take notes! Don’t leave yourself scratching your head wondering how to start a project when it was already explained to you last week. With everything there is to learn, you will be thanking yourself when the answer to your question is in your notepad, rather than needing to ask for a re-explanation.
- Learn to love organizing. Organization and time management is the name of the game in PR. You will likely be jumping from project to project, client to client and industry to industry all within a day’s work, so having a system to keep you organized makes all the difference. It may take trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Consider asking your coworkers what they do to keep themselves organized—whether they are organizing their inbox by project or account, keeping a daily calendar or covering their desk in sticky notes, everyone has a system, and you will be surprised at how efficient you will be once you get yours nailed down.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. While it may seem daunting, it is important to ask questions if you are unclear about an assignment or expectation. Your team will appreciate you asking for clarification rather than taking a shot in the dark and returning with something that missed the mark. Remember, your team wants to see you succeed—both for your own growth and for the sake of the client. No question is a dumb question—unless the answer can already be found in an email!
The good news is, you won’t be expected to know the ins-and-outs of the industry on the first day, but these tips will help! If you have a good attitude and a hunger to learn, you will be fine—remember, they hired you for a reason. Ultimately, PR is a fast-paced, exciting industry and your first internship will provide you with exceptional experience that will jumpstart your career.