So you made the big decision not to life guard but get a ‘real’ job. Does PR sound right for you? We’ve had many interns over the years and after watching all of the talent that has passed through our offices, I thought it would be good to dispense some easy advice on how to get the most out of your job!
1) Be on time, dress professionally and be earnest. We’re not kidding.
Sounds easy right? Not really, many college or post college kids have a very hard time transitioning from the casual college atmosphere to a work environment. Working in an office where there is often a lot of other young professionals also gives the illusion that things are casual. Not true. Work is not school, showing up on time counts, dressing nicely every day matters (even when there are no clients in the office) and most importantly, a positive, can do attitude stands out. Supervisors are looking at how you conduct yourself, how interested you are in learning and seeing why you are there. Presentation in pr is key.
2) No job is too big or too small.
So you work hard in college, you get good grades and rather than stuffing gift bags you think you should be running the accounts. News flash – even when you run the accounts you might be stuffing gift bags. Going to parties, getting your picture taken, that all is glam and wonderful but there is a whole lotta work that goes into events and much of it is nitty gritty. If this is a career you think you would like, make sure you check your ego at the door because this is a service business and we’re here to serve our clients.
3) Ask for More Work
If you are a quick learn and get your work done, the logical thing would be to ask for more work from your supervisor. However, many interns instead wait for the next direction and waste the time on social media or socializing at the office. In all my years of supervising interns it is always the one that says, “What’s next” that is usually the most impressive. Of course, socializing is fun but you are there for a very limited time, learn as much as you can. Believe me it will make all the difference between landing a job or not, speaking knowledgeably on an interview or not.
4) Read, read and then read.
Read every newspaper, magazine, blog or book you can get your hands on. Reading makes you better informed and a better writer. It’s almost shocking to see how many young people don’t read anything beyond Facebook , it is impossible to know how to pitch or speak with a journalist unless you are familiar with their world. Whatever area of interest you have in pr – beauty, fashion, philanthropy, finance, get to know the writers, the outlets and the trades, absorb as much as possible.
5) Ask for an Exit Interview
When I was an intern back in the Middle Ages, you needed references to get jobs. Turns out you still do today. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what your supervisors thought about your work, areas for improvement, get advice about career direction? Many just walk out the door at the end and then call a year later asking for a reference and we are scratching our heads trying to remember which one they were. Mentors come in many shapes and forms and can help you throughout your career, these relationships are often fostered when you are seeking their advice about how to move ahead. If you admire someone you work with, ask them for advice, it’s free.
PS. Send a Thank You Note\Stay in Touch
Emails are nice, hand written notes are really nice. A thank you, would love to work for you again, please let me know if there are any job openings in the future. We have had many employees who started as interns who did just this, expressed their love of the business and interest in working for us.
This article was originally published on http://www.theexclusivellc.tumblr.com/ on July 21, 2011