If PR were a city, it would be New York City, because it never sleeps. Whether it be press releases or papers, conducting studies or attending study sessions, late-night pitching or late-night pitchers, PR is no different than, well, college. There’s something to be said about the never ending cycle of information, opportunities and work that makes the PR industry very exciting and somewhat addicting.
As a sophomore in college at Bridgewater State University (go Bears!) and a few days shy of turning 20, I walked into the bi-weekly PRSSAChapter meeting and walked out with a mission: get the available internship at Hollywood Public Relations in Scituate, MA. I blind emailed the founder, Darlene, and told her that I had little to no experience but that I was extremely interested and ready to learn. After a phone interview, I was offered the position! Two years later, I was hired as an Account Coordinator and I’ve been in this role for a year. Time flies when you’re having fun.
Here are some of my best pieces of advice for turning a part-time internship into a full-time position.
- Join PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America). I was extremely lucky that Darlene put out the request for an intern through our chapter’s president (and that she was unable to take the position), but there were a lot of helpful resources that were available through this club. Bi-weekly, one-hour meetings were required to stay enrolled and it also gave me a chance to network and make new friends. Don’t have a PRSSA chapter on your campus? Create one! What looks even better on a resume than joining is founding it.
- Adjust your class and work schedules accordingly. This can be tricky, I will admit, because your major will only offer certain classes on certain days and school definitely comes first. But there were semesters that I worked half days and then would jet off to school. I worked during nearly every spring break and over the summers (sometimes driving 1.5 hours each way!) and during senior year, I went to school one day a week, took online classes and worked the other four days of the week. It was a long year, but it paid off!
- Don’t be afraid to speak up in team meetings/brainstorms. Keeping quiet is not in my DNA, so this may be more difficult for others, but contribution is key. Be cognizant of when it’s your turn to interject, don’t stray from the topic at hand and be respectful, but the management will appreciate the effort. And always take notes on everything that’s being said. Type them up to send through to your managers; it will show that you were paying attention (this is good if you’re a bit on the shy side).
- (Try to) Do everything and anything your managers/boss asks of you. This might seem like a given, but it’s important to remember. Your role in the company is there to support your elders (in terms of age and experience), and outside of illegal activities, there is really nothing that your manager can ask you that deserves a “no.” You can’t take on all of these tasks at the same time, so set priorities to ensure that deadlines are met and communicate if one could be missed (I’ve learned this the hard way, so take my word for it). But essentially, your internship is like a plant: it needs a steady stream of water to be nurtured and to grow.
- Read the news frequently. Not only is this a good thing to do from an educational standpoint, but it will help you become more familiar with the way journalists cover stories you will want your future clients to be in! Another bonus? It helps your managers take you more seriously. There is nothing more embarrassing than being the only person in the room who doesn’t know about domestic and global issues. Consider signing up for email newsletters from any given publication, or a personal favorite newsletter, The Skimm, written by two women who give the news a funny and smart, satirical edge.
- Have fun! Work hard, play hard. That’s the motto after all, isn’t it?!
– Linnea Kennison
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