My freshman year of college, I jumped into PRSSA and gained some great experience in the development committee, but wanted to do more even though I wasn’t sure what “more” meant. At the end of the year, I spoke to Tom Lamonica about what else I could be doing to gain experience. He suggested internships. I took that to heart and have since done seven internships. I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that I’d like to pass on:
1. It’s never too early to start! I started after my freshman year. I had grown my skills on the job in my internships rather than expecting myself to already have the knowledge.
2. It’s okay to not get paid right away. Many people told me not to intern with people that wouldn’t pay for my time. Contrary to their beliefs, I had the richest, hands-on experience with the places that couldn’t pay me. They let me jump in anywhere I wanted to learn and take on big projects.
3. Ask questions. I wanted to seem like I already knew all my stuff. I thought it would be embarrassing to tell my boss I didn’t know how to use some programs. I learned the hard way that if you don’t ask about what you don’t know, you will do something massively wrong. I promise. It’s always better to ask.
4. Use internships as a way to see what you do and don’t like. An internship is the time to try things out. It’s better to figure out that you hate media relations before you accept a fulltime position at an agency as a media relations specialist.
Most importantly, try to get to know your internship supervisor. They will be invaluable connections and friends.
By: Sydney Velez
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.