By Jenna Jarvis
Congratulations, you got the internship! Now what? Do you need to memorize everyone’s coffee order? Learn what toner is and where it goes? I hope not, because I was an intern for four months and I never did either of those things. Let’s keep that between us though. This list isn’t going to teach you how to go from intern to CEO overnight, but it’ll help you keep your head above water and maybe you’ll end up actually enjoying the waves. Alright, let’s dive in. (Sea what I did there?)
- Get Organized
Really organized. As an intern, you’re not only juggling the multiple accounts you’re assigned, you’re supporting the workload of the entire team. You’re basically the backbone of the entire operation, the glue, the foundation—okay not really, but you matter! No small parts, only small interns. Figure out what method of organization works best for you, and master it. Checklists, reminders, phone alarms, whatever it takes. Staying on top of deadlines is crucial so make them a priority instead of an afterthought.
- Speak up
You’re the new kid. You’re well-aware that everyone around you knows and has done more than you, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer. Share your ideas even if they’re not perfect, fully formed or even feasible. The reason you’re surrounded by coworkers with more experience is so they can help you turn those ideas into realities. Ask those “dumb” questions—you might be surprised what they lead to. Before you ask your litany of questions though, be sure to spend some time with your best friend Google and ask them there first. When you’ve weeded out those commonsense questions, feel free to bring in the experts.
- Ask for More
More tasks on top of the mountain of work in front of you? Yep, you read that right. This is your chance (if upper management lets you) to try everything. Think of your various PR tasks as different ice cream flavors and grab a spoon. Try your hand at a press release, write a blog and pitch a story to a massive publication. Then on Tuesday, do it all over again.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
That first draft you were so proud of might come back with so many red lines on it that it looks like a candy cane—just take a deep breath. This isn’t a failure, it’s a lesson. PR internships are filled with endless opportunities to improve and hone your skills. No matter how much experience you walked in with, you’re guaranteed (at least at Nereus) to learn something new every single day. If you’re not bettering yourself during this internship, you’re either at the wrong agency or you need to step it up.
- Embrace Every Opportunity
Say “yes.” Say yes to tasks you’ve never tried before. Say yes to creating an analytics report that you’re going to Google how to do every step. Say yes to creating collateral for an event you’ve never attended. Say yes to managing a fifth social media account. When you’re in a team meeting, they ask who wants to try tackling a task and the room falls quiet, say—well, I think you get it. (YES!)
You made it to the end of the list, are you a whole new intern yet? Wow, I’m good. Now of course there are plenty of other important aspects of PR internships, but I can’t just give away all of my secrets, what if we’re interviewing for the same job one day? Unhealthy competition aside, I hope your PR internship experience provides you with your own list of tips for success, as long as it’s not better than mine (Sorry, I really can’t help it). No matter how long your internship is, make the most out of every opportunity that comes your way. If you say “yes” to trying a new task, what’s the worst that can happen? You learn something and you’re more prepared next time? Oh no, please, anything but that!