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Five Tips for Starting a PR Internship

By Mackenzie Berk

August 3, 2016

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re preparing to start your first Public Relations internship. Or you may be interested in some new ways to expand your knowledge on how to be a successful intern. Either way, my tips for starting a PR internship will help you get the most out of yours.

During summer 2020 I started a PR internship with Channel V Media and this opportunity exceeded my expectations.  I want to share my helpful tips for starting a PR internship with you. I believe if you understand and act on these five simple, yet important concepts, you will be setting yourself up for success in your internship. 

Understand The Many Different Types of PR and Be Open to Them All 

Before I started at Channel V Media, I I was quite nervous stepping into the role of an intern. 

. If you are anything like me, you may still be thinking, “I cannot confidently say public relations is what I want to do.” But, did you know there are many different sectors of public relations, and it’s likely they work under the same agency? For example, there’s lifestyle, tech, health, travel, crisis communications and digital to name a few! 

What’s important is that given time, you might find an interest in a certain sector, give it some time. You may find yourself gravitating towards certain projects and discoveringwhat you really want to do after college. By embracing your internship you’ll get a jumpstart on your future. If you research the PR industry before your internship and are open to learning about every part of it you’ll find value — even if it’s not your top choice.

It’s Okay to be Unsure 

Every new intern gets anxious. Interns can put pressure on themsleves to be knowledgeable about the field they’re entering. Or, they worry that asking questions is forbidden or, at the very least, a sign of poor preparation. 

Asking questions is a good thing. It shows that you are engaged, committed to broadening your knowledge, attentive to detail and eager to take pride in your work. Additionally, learning on the go is totally cool.

If you have knowledge of every task you’re asked to do, that would mean that you aren’t learning anything new. What good does that do? That’s the beauty of an internship: you’re on the curve of your career future already. 

Introduce Some of These Useful Habits In Your Daily Routine 

By introducing the following initiatives into your daily routine will make you a better public relations intern: check the news daily, update and follow the latest trends, and always refine your writing and grammar skills. 

As an intern with CVM, one of our daily tasks is to complete daily news tracking forclients. We research these articles by using keywords, which become second- nature only through intense familiarity with the news cycle. If you keep up-to date with the newsyou might create an opportunity to forecastthe future news cycle for your clients. Sign up to get the Morning Brew or the Skimm for email updates. Or you can gain access to any other fast news applications. Before you begin working each morning set aside 10 minutes to go through the daily news. 

In addition to this,  your writing must be routine- and excellent. This means you must develop a strong foundation in written expression .If I were to go back I would better prepare myself for my internship. I would have taken more writing workshops which covered everything from grammar to writing for different audiences to ease my adjustment to the writing tasks of a PR intern. Furthermore, competency in this area eliminates using up supervisor’s time on small errors, allowing everyone to  focus on the message. Demonstrating strong writing skills gains the trust of your supervisors and results in more assignments. 

Pay Attention to As Many Details As Possible 

When you are assigned a task, it is your responsibility to thoroughly read and understand  what is being asked of you.  Paying attention to detail may seem simple, an approach to work that is obvious. Yet, details are both subtle and obvious, requiring both a sharp eye,focus and intuition. For example, attention to detail may mean finding emails for media lists and assuring they are in use or making sure your calendar is perfectly informative about times and locations of meetings. While it would be easy to conclude that there is nothing you can do prior to your internship to prepare yourself for this I would find a way that works for you to track the details of your day, leaving more mind space for focusing on big picture issues.

Establish Some Mentors and Resources For Yourself 

Remember that you are working in a community with many mentors and many resources. No one who is working alone is taking advantage of the body of knowledge and insights provided by a group. You can have more than one mentor, and you will find that different people have different areas of expertise and ways of communicating; yet, all can be helpful. Paying close attention to the work your supervisors and co-workers do, asking them questions about it, and also reaching out to each of them as individuals will develop bonds that will be beneficial in the short term and potentially long term. 

A summary – my top five tips for starting a PR internship 

If you want to get the most out of your PR internship, remember these top 5 tips for starting a PR internship:

  • Understand the different sectors of the public relations field
  • Ask questions
  • Form new daily habits like reading the news
  • Paying attention to detail 
  • Establish mentors and resources for yourself 

Once you had a good foundation on these five concepts, I believe that they will allow you to further excel as an intern and possibly even further beyond that. I hope you find this information useful and I wish you the best of luck in your public relations internship and future career endeavors. 

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