As part of PRSA’s unveiling of industry guidelines for the ethical use of interns, we asked five recent public relations interns to blog about their experiences — good or bad — and offer ideas on how the profession can better prepare interns for the rigors of full-time employment. This is the second post of a planned three-part series.
Before interning at a PR agency, I prided myself on my ability to multitask and complete tasks in a timely manner. However, being immersed on multiple teams in an agency brought my abilities to an entirely new level.
On my first day at Burson-Marsteller, managing director Ed Menninger told us about the importance of being about to juggle clients, responsibilities and supervisors. There is nothing like 10 e-mails coming in at once, all with deadlines within the hour. And there is no better preparation for how to deal with something like that besides learning how to prioritize, communicate with supervisors and work efficiently.
On Writing …
You can practice writing a news release for homework. You can edit documents using your AP Stylebook. You can even create campaigns and monitor results. But there is nothing that compares to the pressure of time constraints that you will have in an agency. In a classroom, you are not billable for assignments; but in an agency, everything you complete needs to be accomplished in a certain period of time and edited quickly to ensure journalists, clients, your bosses and other parties have the information they need to do their jobs in a timely and efficient manner.
On Networking …
In addition to gaining this practical experience, interns have the chance to network with professionals who have been in the field. These mentors will not only teach you how to thrive at a PR, whether at any agency or in-house setting, but will provide valuable advice for the future as students pursue their careers in PR.
Don’t stop at one internship. Try out multiple disciplines, see what interests you the most and pursue your dreams.
Rachel Sprung is a senior at Boston University, where she is majoring in public relations and business administration. She is also national vice president of regional activities at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and a member of the PRSSA 2010-11 National Committee.
Internships provide students with real-world experience essential for success upon graduation. Without internships, students wouldn’t blend as easily into a work environment as those who have gone through an internship experience. Not only do internships allow students to partake in a work-related team environment, but they also allow students to become acquainted with public relations tasks required outside the classroom. Just think, would you rather hire an entry-level employee with experience, or without?
On paid versus unpaid internships …
No student wants to work in a place they feel unwelcome. And just because an internship is paid, doesn’t mean it’s valuable. While pay definitely helps, overall students just want to leave with a good experience.
Good or bad, news of their internship experience will spread among peers. They will likely recommend the great internships to their PR powerhouse friends, and save the not so great internships to their lazy ones.