By Stan Steinreich
We are entering the season for new recruits as thousands of college underclassmen are preparing to begin their summer internship experience. Internships are a great opportunity for them to indulge in a wealth of knowledge from entry-level employees to CEOs. Whether it’s your first internship or your third, what you learn from your internship this summer will set you apart from other graduates when you look for a job to start your career after college. Jump in and take advantage of all the opportunities your internship has to offer.
Here are five tips for making the most out of your internship:
- Intern at a firm –One of the things that an agency will give you is exposure to all of the aspects of PR – everything from how to begin to deal with the media, fine tuning your writing skills, understanding how we merchandise the work that we do. I think it is good grounding in the basics of PR, it is good training and in fact, we call it here “graduate school for public relations.” Then you move on to wherever in your career where you have an interest – whether that is sticking with a firm or going to the corporate side or to a not-for-profit.
- Take the initiative – Internships are more than just observing the folks around you. In the old days you would see much more administrative work and the requisite media monitoring and press list creations. However, with the way technology is changing our industry, today’s interns are provided more opportunity to participate in brainstorms, engage with social media and even try their hand at pitching.
- Challenge yourself – Don’t just learn a new skill, put the skill to use and try to master it. This is an opportunity to try new things as well as practice what you already know. It is ok to make mistakes. When you make a mistake reflect on the process and what steps you took so you can see where you made the error. Talk it over with your team and learn from it. The most crucial part is to not give up and to try again.
- Stay motivated –While at times the task assigned to you may not be as glamourous as meeting with a client or speaking with the media, it is crucial to the process of the team’s success. We are in a business of ego, energy and at times an individuality that may benefit us—but not always the clients we are sworn to serve. Teamwork —each member of our squad using their individual skills—which together, fill the bushels of media results and ROI for our clients. It can be a powerful force in our agency hallways.
- Ask questions –There is no such thing as a bad question, only bad answers. The question, or more broadly, curiosity, is what drives the communication business. We have to be able to ask, feel free to ask and be encouraged to ask the right questions so we can do our jobs more effectively.
Make the most out of your internship. Learn from your intern manager or mentor and encourage yourself to reach out to others in the organization and ask to meet with them to learn about what they do. Our business is so vast and there are many talented people who bring different skillsets to the team. Your internship this summer is the opportunity for you to learn from them, so take advantage of the opportunity!
Stan Steinreich is president and CEO of Steinreich Communications, an international PR firm with offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, London, Frankfurt and High Point