Since January of this year, I have learned quite a lot at my internship with Fleishman- Hillard in Kansas City. I had started a long post throughout my internship about the dos and don'ts in public relations but the whole part about our writing is the simplicity and how we write straight to the point adding our own color. I decided as a result, to add just the 5 things to remember for an internship.
1. Love the Research
At my internship at FH, I learned the most through research. If you aren't s
ure about something, research it first. Go to their website, call numbers, ask questions and gather all possible information before ever reporting to your project directors. They will not only be impressed with your knowledge on the company, reporter, product, person...etc, they will trust you with larger information next time. Sometimes the most fu
n in an internship is through the research. You learn so much in general just by some basic research.
One of the first steps in public relations, marketing, advertising or probably most communications/business fields is strategic planning. Know what your goals are. Know what your audiences are. Ask those questions to your project managers. Ask for examples others on how they plan their campaigns. Does your group use objectives, strategies and tactics? Do they use more? Do they make a general chart or is it full in detail? When looking for a job this is crucial to know because you never know when you will need to step in and interactively contribute a plan and you will certainly want to over prepare all the information you will need, especially if it is a pitch for a client.
3. Ask for Other Eyes
In an agency world, I found that a lot of time your project managers don't have time to edit. As scary as it is they want something right away for the client so they can manage other things. Because time is so precious, it is imperative that you have as many others check your work as possible. Everything that you put out there is YOUR work. If the client sees a mistake in the work that was given, it is usually because of a mistake that could have been seen earlier. We are all human so we all make mistakes but it is important to have others close to you check with fresh eyes, so you are able to give the most professional product. I learned it was helpful to even have the other intern look at my work. We helped each other, caught mistakes and sometimes it was less painful because we were in the same position and could work things out easier that way.
4. Make it Painless
One of the things most interns don't think about when they are just starting is how to make it in the most final draft possible. Often your supervisor submits emails, having to convert what you said in their words, taking precious time. In a world like FH, I learned to try to make it as "ready send" as possible. If you know how they usually write emails (and if you don't they are usually happy to send you an example), create them in that tone, with the quality and voice that your supervisor/project manager usually uses. This will save time and show your project manager that you are capable of the responsibility of working with clients. This is important to progressing in the future.
5. Use Everyone You Meet as Much as Possible
The best part about working at FH was the diversity of
all the staff. The most important part of an internship is learning right? This is your chance to ask as many questions as possible. Email at their convenience, questions that you might have about their specialty. Meet for coffee or lunch. Ask if you can sit in on their client meetings. Ask if you can contribute to their work if you are interested, or even if you aren't - you never know. I found that I was interested in things that I would have never known, had I not tried.
The second part of number five is to meet as much people as possible in your area. Network. Often college graduates and interns hear this but you never know what you will learn or what opportunities will present themselves if you meet others. I have learned this the most. The more people you know, the better chances you have getting a job and hopefully a job you like.
In my three
months with FH in
Kansas City, I learned a great deal but I felt like these points helped me the most. I think it is important to try more than an agency perspective because different working environments add to everything - your success, your happiness and your work ethic. I am currently looking for a job now but I have found that using these tools and knowing them during an internship is one of the most important parts of all communications jobs.