Happy Friday, fellow “struggling PR pros in the making” at least I hope I’m not the only one paying for groceries in straight change (HEY lady, those pennies are legal tender in these United States, now give me my week’s worth of top ramen LOL) and TGIF, right? Anyways, I finished my first week as a NON-Paid intern at “the firm” (I probably won’t be revealing the name of it here on this blog) and let me tell you: I LOVED IT (besides the not getting paid part, which is a hard pill to swallow everyday), because I work for a “boutique” (the nice way of saying “small” there will be whole post on this, because I think there are numerous benefits) firm, I hit the ground running: building media lists, pitching to mommy bloggers and reporters, helping lead a tweetchat, etc.
This is living, baby and since I want to excel at this internship (because the firm does have a record of turning interns into account associates), I decided to go around the web looking for tips to ace your PR internship and turn it into a real job (because let’s face it, your parents are still sending you medical school applications):
10 Tips for aceing that PR internship (and possibly turning it into a PR JOB):
- Stand out at your internship “InternQueen” Lauren Berger suggests, “Walk in every day and ask yourself, “How can I make the most out of this opportunity?” (source: http://bit.ly/Lcz3hV)
- Take Initiative, be proactive, work hard…you get the point, there really is no need to link back on this one, as EVERY list I looked at said the same thing: take on extra projects, do everything asked of you with gusto, go above and beyond, offer suggestions, which leads me to my next tip…
- SPEAK!!! This was a great tip (I think) because I sat in a meeting yesterday with 2 other interns, sitting in front of the head of my company and neither of them said anything! I offered to help on 2 projects and said one other thing, they said…nothing, The awesome people at RawleMurdy gave this advice, “Speak often and to many. The more you can share that you have an opinion and care about what’s being discussed, the more you’ll stand out….make your presence known.” (Source: http://bit.ly/LNxWLA)
- Carry a pen and notebook EVERYWHERE. The wonderful people at PRDaily (AKA the PR Bible) put this as number 11 on one of their manymanymany lists of tips for PR interns, but it’s number 4 for me, beause my current supervisor told me that if she’s telling me something and I’m not writing it down, it better not be done wrong later on. (Source: http://bit.ly/Mdd9km)
- Get Social…but keep the Facebook profile private. Please. This brilliant piece of advice comes from both PRDaily and a former intern, Katie Lane, at Xenophone Strategies; I think it’s awesome to connect with co-workers and account managers and company heads via Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, Facebook, etc. but keep in mind that they will probably look and if you have something embarrassing, it will hurt and not help your career. If your nickname is “Party Pat” just keep the FB profile private, okay? (source:http://bit.ly/LNA2uU)
- SPELL CHECK. I mean it. Check your darn spelling. Seriously. Check it. Now. Then, check it again. This piece of advice really should be put in a list titled “HOW to get a PR internship” but how embarrassing for you and your firm if you send out an e-mail pitch or an e-mail to an editor or reporter with a misspelling? I mean, these people are paid to get spelling and grammar right, right? So just check the spelling.
- Show up on time and respect company time. Okay, I combined 2 of these from PRDaily because this is MY blog and I can do what I want, okay? Seriously, I have an intern at my job who has been working all of 3 weeks and jokingly admitted to me that she had already been chastised by the office manager about being late; we only work 3 days a week, so out of 9 days she was there, she had to be late at least 3 or 4 times for someone to say anything. WOW. I’m a naturally late person (my time clock is all out of whack) but I do what I have to and get to work on time (sometimes, 20 minutes early!). And when you get there, respect company time, PRDaily says, “With any luck, your internship will start with a comfortable workload while you learn the ropes. Once you get comfortable, don’t look for ways to slack off. If you have free time at work, take on more responsibility. You’ll be helping the team and yourself.” (Source: http://bit.ly/MLej4Y)
- Sit in on as many meetings as possible. Another gem from PrDaily (can you tell I love this website? Not just me, but PR pros the world around), which says to ask to sit on as meetings as possible, even if you just offer to take notes and e-mail them out after the meeting is over, “It shows initiative and reliability. Eventually your superiors will trust you with more important tasks.” (Source: http://bit.ly/MdhnIu)
- Read blogs related to the field. As of this moment, I work in the tech PR field, I am tech-special (no, that doesn’t mean me and my iPhone are BFFs) meaning I can look at a laptop and fry the motherboard, so my supervisor’s advice: read tech blogs everyday, so I put a list a list of blogs I think will help me become a tech junkie, or at least sell a brand to some…INTERN BONUS: I offered to make the list available to other interns and future interns, my boss was muy impressed. (Source: http://bit.ly/KqSN1M)
- Ask for feedback and learn to accept criticism. I saw this on a number of the lists; they all say: “ask for feedback” “set up performance evaluations” “learn to take critisicm” and it got me thinking, “they might be on to something” so I agree. If you ask for feedback, it shows that you actually value your job and you want to learn from this experience and do your best. Criticism? It can be a tough pill to swallow, but think of it this way: if nobody cared, they would let you go through life doing it wrong and criticism can really help you. If you take it, consider it, and change what’s “wrong” (which is not always the right term to use) then your supervisor will see that you are capable of growth and that you actually listen to them
BONUS (Because “11” sounded like a stupid number): GROW GROW GROW little flower, GROW. Seriously, remember why you’re there, working a job (that probably pays nothing…okay, I’m getting over it, I promise) and doing all of this above (hopefully); so you can grow into a PR Pro! You want to make this a career, right? OK then, you need to grow and use this opportunity as the fertilizer (wait…never mind).
Well, that’s all I have for today, watch out for an exciting new feature I am going to be introducing on Monday; here’s a hint: it has the words “PR 101” in it…now spend the weekend trying to figure it out!