So you got that PR internship you really wanted… now what? Here are some tips to make sure this internship is more than just a blurb on your resume.
- Get noticed
- Acquire skills
- Make connections
- Go above and beyond
- Ask the question
1. Get noticed
Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it is essential to moving forward from the internship to either a job with the company or assistance in gaining an entry-level job somewhere else.
How: Ask questions. Contribute during staff meetings. Say hello to everyone in the office every morning. Maintain a professional code of dress and a professional demeanor.
2. Acquire skills
Just working in an internship is not enough. You must be able to take away skills and knowledge from the position. Sadly, some internships are created solely to give busy-work to someone who can do it for free. As frustrating as this can be, it does not mean that you cannot still learn from your coworkers.
How: Ask to help with interesting assignments you will learn from. Yes, this means more work, but no one said being an intern was easy! Also, ask your supervisor or coworkers questions when you see them working on something you would like to learn. Ask them if they can teach you how to ___. The bottom line: don’t be afraid to ask for what you need!
3. Make connections
Sitting quietly and doing your work may make you a great intern, but it may not be a good career choice. Your goal should be to form a bond with your coworkers and supervisor and most especially with the people in charge of hiring.
How: Speak to your coworkers and find out their path to this destination in their career. Befriend them on LinkedIn or even (if they are comfortable with it) Facebook. Find out who makes hiring decisions and get to know them. Ask what the requirements are for an entry-level position with the company. Become part of the office team by being friendly, but not overstepping the boundaries of professionalism and the office culture already in place.
4. Go above and beyond
As I mentioned before, a lot of internship work can be the work no one else wants. A good internship will provide you with assignments that will give you experience, but let’s face it: not all internships are good ones. Sometimes it is simply because they do not have experience working with interns. To combat this and to get noticed as a potential future employee, give 110%
How: For example, if you are asked to research three websites, take a look at a few other similar websites just in case there is more information to be gathered. Politely offer this information as well at the end of the report. If you are asked to write in a style you are unfamiliar with, do some research and try to become an expert. Always triple-proof-read your work and get someone else to take a look at it if possible before turning it in. Attention to detail is a very easy way to get noticed, and the lack thereof is also easily noticed! If you are asked to transcribe a video interview, also highlight certain quotes that you think are standouts to make the next person’s job easier. Any simple, repetitive task you are given is a chance to show that you have the gumption to be an amazing employee.
5. Ask the question
This can be the hardest part for many people. Don’t leave your internship wondering if you will hear from them again, or how they felt about you.
How: Near the end of your time there, ask your supervisor what they think about you. Tell them you want an honest critique to help you improve yourself. Ask them if they can see you working there. Ask if there are positions open that you can apply for. Tell them you loved your time there and want to continue the relationship. If there are no positions at the company, ask if they are willing to write you a recommendation or if they have any suggestions for where to apply.
You may have noticed a pattern in these tips: the word ASK. Communication is key in our profession. Asking brings attention to you, it shows that you are paying attention, it shows curiosity and willingness to learn and it shows that you are interested and ambitious.
Do you have any tips for PR interns looking to move to the next level?