Inspired: Insight of an Intern
January 15, 2013
In the world of media & communications, interns are an integral part of any team, whether it be corporate, non-profit or agency. While they may not be taking on the biggest of jobs, they play a large role in making sure all of the little things don’t fall through the cracks. The tasks of an intern can range far and wide - pulling samples to send to a magazine, writing a first draft press release, or ensuring coffee is ready for an important client meeting can all fall under the intern’s job description. It may not always be glamorous, but the experience is always invaluable and there is always something new to learn.
With PR’s fast and furious nature, though, it’s easy to get discouraged as an intern. Mistakes are made, tasks can seem monotonous, and you may find yourself doing several before landing a job. It’s important to recognize the value of an internship, though, and be able to put a positive spin on whatever the day brings in order to make the most of it.
Keep a few things in mind to maximize the experience:
1) Learn from your mistakes. You will make mistakes. Some may be bigger than others, but it’s important to see them for what they are – mistakes. Don’t dwell on them, learn from them. Ensure you understand your mistakes so as not to make them again. You don’t want to be the intern who’s 8 weeks into an internship making the same errors over & over!
2) Always have a pen & paper on you (or very close by). You will take lots of notes. Every time you’re given a task, record every nuance of information to ensure you can complete a task. Take notes on observations, things you’ll need to remember, questions you plan to ask, and so on. Don’t rely on your memory too much to get you through the day.
3) Take advantage of the opportunity to network. Internships are an incredible way to get your name out there and meet new professionals in your industry. Be sure to get to know the names of key players, and (assuming the time & place is appropriate) introduce yourself at events. Use social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with people online after an introduction - you never know who you’ll be pitching one day, or who might have a job opportunity for you.
4) Don’t get hung up on money (or lack thereof) – Most internships will be unpaid. Some offer stipends or honorariums to cover expenses such as transportation, but don’t count on it. If you’re willing to sacrifice a paycheck, your chances of landing a great internship will be better. It’s important to remember that internships are of value to you, as companies that offer internships are essentially giving you a unique form of free education. We all have to pay our dues, and sometimes that means working part-time jobs to keep afloat & get the experience necessary to launch our careers.
This list is not exhaustive - it can go on and on when it comes to advice for internships. The important thing? Go in with a positive attitude, an open mind and a willingness to learn, and the experience of an internship (or multiple) will be an amazing, fruitful and exciting one.