Summer internships: the season for college students to descend upon the working class in hopes to either gain a unique glimpse into what their future may look like or simply build up their resume. This experience, however, is more important than many students realize. According to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), an overwhelming 95 percent of employers reported that candidate experience is a factor in hiring decisions, and nearly half sought out experience directly from internships or co-op programs.

We live in an age where first impressions are long-lasting. Often, a job offer or even securing a job interview depends on your connections and who you know. The corporate public relations world is no different, and internships and jobs are both becoming more competitive every year. So in the spirit of summer break, Lou Hammond Group is sharing five hot tips and tricks to help you stand out during your internship.


Four Person's High-fiving Each Others


Have a Good Attitude

One of the most valuable lessons you can learn as an intern and continue to practice for years to come is that no task is too small. Yes, hours upon hours of data entry or running errands or even making coffee for a client may not be the most thrilling of tasks, but we guarantee that your employer will notice if you do them well, timely and with a good attitude. Likewise, they will take note if you seem frustrated or bored. It’s important to remember that there is most likely a reason behind every task given to you, even if you’re unable to see at the time. You may be asked to focus on data entry so you can learn more about the client and later help with writing press releases or designing copy for newsletters. You may be asked to grab coffee or water for a client so your employer can see how you interact with others and decide whether you’re ready to sit in on client meetings. The bottom line- your attitude will be noticed, so always be self-aware.


Woman Holding Pen With White Printer Paper


Stay Busy

While it may seem obvious, it can be difficult to stay busy at the start of your internship, while you’re still learning your role and later once you are able to complete your assigned tasks quickly or have less supervision. So, it’s important to always look for ways to be creative and stay busy. What that specifically looks like will depend on your internship and employer, but see below for five suggestions from the LHG team:

  1. Research your clients. Start with any recent news articles and note their marketing and branding strategies.
  2. Research popular editorial trends. Make a list of potential pitches for your supervisor to review.
  3. Grab coffee with other employees to learn more about their day-to-day job. Don’t be afraid to show initiative, start conversations or ask questions.
  4. Practice. Try your hand at writing a press release for one of your clients or designing an advertisement. Then ask your supervisor to review and offer feedback when they have time.
  5. Anticipate your next assignment. If you are working on a specific project, think about what comes next.


Show Interest

Internships provide insight into one of two potential realities- it either solidifies your career path or it encourages you to look elsewhere. For those of you whose internships confirm your desire to work in public relations, showing legitimate interest goes a step further than staying busy and is key to your future success. The best way to show interest is to pay attention and ask questions. Moreover, depending on your internship, seek out additional opportunities and ask to participate. Whether it be attending an offsite meeting, after work networking event, conference call or new business pitch, look for ways to constantly learn and show your employer that you are interested. Simply asking questions may lead to the greatest insight during your internship experience.


Become Invaluable

Once you’re comfortable with your tasks and your supervisor, it can become tempting to take it easy and coast to the finish line, especially towards the end of your internship. Instead, we recommend making yourself invaluable. How can a college student make themselves invaluable to a PR company? During the course of your internship, figure out what you enjoy most and dedicate your time to perfecting a specific skill. Work towards becoming the go-to person for a specific task. If you enjoy writing press releases, ask your supervisor if you can write the first draft. If you enjoy editing, volunteer to proof-read whenever you have the opportunity. Focus on perfecting your strengths and allow your employer to see your work.


Thank You Signage


Stay In Touch

Your internship doesn’t end on your last day, and this final tip could lead to the most beneficial outcome of your entire experience. It’s imperative that you try your best to stay in touch with your supervisor(s) or employer in two specific ways:

  1. Exercise the lost art of a thank you note. While this may seem silly to some, writing a simple note to thank your employer for the experience will go a long way in standing out from others.
  2. Stay in touch, especially if graduating in the next two years. Send your supervisor a quick email if you see a client mentioned in the news or send them a project you’re working on for school if you incorporated something you learned from your internship. You never know where it could lead or the connections you could make by simply staying in touch. Remember: often times securing a job is all about who you know, and your supervisor could be looking to make a hire when you graduate.