By Lindsey Barber
You’ve landed a new internship. Congratulations! Now what?
Impressing the interviewers is only the first step. Now comes the hard (or exciting) part – demonstrating that the company made the correct choice in giving you a chance. Public Relations, particularly in the agency setting, is a fast paced world, often leaving new interns in a “sink or swim” situation. I have discovered (based on my own personal experiences) a few essential keys to internship success and strategies for making a lasting impression on your new boss.
- Introduce Yourself: The first day as an intern can be extremely overwhelming. Take a breath and put those feelings aside for the time being. Reflect on that never ending to-do list later. For today, get to know your team. If they haven’t set aside time to sit down and talk with you – request it! Starting out on the right foot is essential to your successful transition as a new member of the team. They may not be available immediately, but make every effort to put yourself in front of the people with whom you will be working. It’s your way of saying, “I’m eager to be here, and I am willing to learn from you.”
- Be Proactive/Make Your Team Members’ Lives Easier: Once you become more comfortable with your work load, constantly look for new ways to help and make every effort to be a step ahead of the game. For example, you notice a brand you are working on is going to have a big announcement soon. Offer to write the first draft of the press release. This not only shows that you understand your work overall, but proves your eagerness to work on something new.
- Raise Your Hand: Time permitting – always take advantage of new opportunities and tasks. Your internship is first and foremost, a learning experience. Don’t forget that you are there to improve yourself as much as help the company.
- Network, Network, Network: As an intern, you have a chance to interface with experts in the field that you may not have met otherwise. Take that opportunity to connect with your fellow co-workers and learn from their experiences and find out more about their backgrounds. The beautiful thing about PR is that many of those working around you have followed unique paths leading them to this field. Learn from them professionally and get to know them personally. You may be fortunate enough to find a mentor that will guide you through your budding career.
- If You Want It, Say It: You’ve fallen in love with the company you are interning for, but there’s a problem. You are interested in full-time employment, but don’t know if they have a spot for you. Talk to your manager and express that interest. Have an open conversation about what you want and feel confident in detailing the ways in which you have grown while working as an intern. If your supervisor knows where you stand, and you have proven your value, he or she is more likely to push for a potential hire.
Lindsey Barber is a Marketing Communications Account Executive and Fellowship Coordinator at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Chicago, a global public relations and integrated communications agency.