It’s hard to believe that summer is halfway through. If you have a summer internship, you’ve probably finally gotten in sync with a work routine. Whether you’re a sophomore or a senior, internship experience is crucial. Here are five tips to help get the most out of your summer internship.
Get to know the company.
When you interviewed, you probably had looked up some background information on the company. Once you’re hired, you should know it like the back of your hand. I’ve found our Brand Planning Document to be the bible. If I’m writing a message, no matter how short or long, I refer to the brand guide to make sure I’m using the voice of the company. Plus, it will be impressive when you blurt out a company fact, especially if you’re looking to work for them post-graduation.
Don’t get bored waiting for work to come to you – seek it out. Do a S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis on the company’s social media, and pitch your recommendations to your supervisor. Is there an event coming up for which you would like to write a press release? Prepare an outline to show your boss and ask if you can write it. Find a project that best represents your public relations skills and make the company shine. Now is the time to build up your portfolio!
Think outside of the box.
As I was attempting to write my first ad, the head of the marketing department looked at a few of my drafts and gave me some of the most strange but helpful advice I’ve received at my internship. He said, “Forget everything they taught you about journalism when you write these. In fact, if they taught it to you in journalism school, break it or do it differently. No rules.” Yes, what you learned in school is important and AP style is a huge part of the industry, but remember, you represent your company, and you need to be able to write and send a message that portrays the company’s style. Plus, it can be fun to forget the rules for a little bit.
Now is not the time to be timid. Being proactive goes a long way. Ask for projects to work on and ask questions when you have them. Internships are learning experiences so questions are absolutely accepted.
Accept constructive criticism.
Internships are the gateway to jobs in the public relations industry. Each one should grow your real-world career skills. So if the company doesn’t use your press release or if your ad looks like it was colored red by a kindergartner, accept it, learn from it and move on. You should be growing and improving your skills at your internship. Plus, I would rather be corrected as an intern than as a full-time employee.
What are you doing to get the most of your internship?
By Ali Seys
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.