Now that a new year has begun, it’s time to start gearing up for the summer season and researching internships! It’s always better to get ahead of the curve and begin looking into programs sooner rather than later. Begin by exploring internships through your college campus by connecting to your alumni network.  An internship is the first real chance students have to get their foot in the door and build their career to come. An internship in the PR industry will provide you with a new understanding of your college studies and put them into practice. Once the search is over, the real work (and fun!) begins. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind for success this summer.


  1. Do your research

So, you’ve landed your dream PR internship—now what? It’s time to learn as much as you can to prepare yourself for your new role. Start at square one and visit your company’s website. Take the time to look through their ‘About Us’ page, services offered, and the clients listed on their roster. Revisit your notes from the interview process— once you have a thorough understanding of ‘who’ they are and ‘what’ they do, turn your attention to their clients. Research each client and their product— visit their websites to get an overview of who you’ll be representing— get to know their brand image and investigate past coverage to better understand their marketing. A good PR professional knows their clients inside and out and will be able to craft a pitch to fit the story.


  1. Be patient

Give yourself time to learn and grow! The whole point of an internship is to get experience in the field. It’s a “test drive” for your future career. Your internship is an introduction to the field’s culture and etiquette— be observant of how your colleagues and supervisors handle communication with clients and publications. It may be an overwhelming first week but once you are immersed into the rotation of work, you’ll be ahead in no time.


  1. Be enthusiastic

Ask questions and volunteer to take on more work— the more work you have the more you’ll be boosting personal development. If there are special projects around the agency, ask a co-worker or supervisor if you can sit in on calls or assist with research. Offer to help where you can. Observe the great relationship-builders in your agency and learn from them. Enthusiastic employees tend to rub off on each other and have a positive impact at the agency. Each experience and project you work on will teach you an indispensable skill that you will take with you into your career. With your positive work energy, just remember to maintain the level of professionalism that your agency is known for in the business.


  1. Get to know your mentors

We cannot stress this enough. Every intern’s priorities should be to learn about the company and enhance their knowledge and skills, but equally important is to get to know your co-workers! They have all been where you are now and have much insight to offer. The PR industry, much like many other fields, hinges on relationships— cultivating them and maintaining personal contact is key to success.

While you likely won’t be working on all agency clients, it’s important to remember who in the company works on which account. You’ll often find yourself discovering new journalists and social influencers that have worked with other clients in the past—this is the perfect opportunity to connect with colleagues to gather insight and gain an introduction. The personal relationships and contacts that your co-workers have are an asset that you can tap into during your outreach.


  1. Writing is key

Strong written communication is vital in PR. You’ll quickly find yourself sending out pitches and writing releases for your clients, so make it a point to improve your writing throughout your internship. Opportunities to contribute or to take the reins on special writing projects may come at any time— this is a chance to get feedback that will be invaluable to future projects. Don’t be afraid to step up in situations like these—feedback leads to more focused and effective writing for your intended audience!


  1. Set goals

It is a good idea to meet with your team leader at the beginning of the internship and ask what their expectations are for you. Ask what the daily and weekly accomplishments are and follow-up with members of your team throughout the internship to make sure you are on the right track. Also, keep in mind what your own goals are for the internship and what you hope to learn. Discuss your goals with your supervisor and ask to be involved in opportunities that correspond with your objectives.


  1. Stay organized

Once you are settled into your internship, you will be very busy! Staying organized is crucial. Take plenty of notes during meetings and keep to-do lists of assignments and deadlines. Though you may participate in conference calls, email is the main source of communication for outreach. Maintain your inbox with specific folders, i.e. for each client, pitching efforts, releases, reading assignments. Further, put all meetings into your calendar! There are a lot of moving parts at any company but put these tips into action to make sure nothing gets lost in the hustle and bustle.


A summer internship may seem daunting, but if you take into account these tips you’ll be off to a great start. Remember that everyone in the industry started off somewhere and built their career from the ground up, just like you are doing now! After the internship program is over, you will be well on your way to becoming a young PR professional. Make sure to maintain your contacts for the future as you’ll never know when the perfect opportunity will arise. Good luck!

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