How to Stand Out During Your Internship

What brings you joy?

 

Ever since binge-watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix at the beginning of the year, I’ve been asking myself that question in every aspect of my life. Before Marie Kondo, I actually already used this phrase with my friends somewhat jokingly when approached with a question: “Vanessa, should I buy these new shoes?” “Well, will it bring you joy?” But now, it’s taken on a whole new meaning.

 

Digression aside, one of the things that brings me the most joy in life is Dittoe PR’s internship program. As a former Dittoe PR intern myself, I remember how incredibly amazing my own experience was. While there were several perks to the internship, what made it truly impactful was the real-life agency experience I gained while still being a college student. This group of strangers brought me onto their team and almost instantly trusted me to help handle their day-to-day tasks – were they crazy? I’m not sure. But now, a few years later, I help lead our internship program and these strangers have become my work family (and yes, I can confirm they are a little crazy).

 

Every semester, it’s my goal to make sure our interns have the same experience I was afforded as a DPR intern. While we’re known for holding our interns to a high caliber, we believe this will help you in the long run. Our interns walk away feeling like they’ve gained the tools and lessons they need to become a PR professional. In fact, many of our current staff members started at Dittoe PR as interns. So, what is it that we look for in an intern? And what can you do to become a stand-out intern? Below I’ve scrounged up some tips and tricks I think will help any student stand out from the crowd, at a PR internship or elsewhere.

 

Take all the notes and ask all the questions.

This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give all interns. Especially in PR, it’s imperative to take notes. Come to every meeting with a pen and paper and be prepared to write everything down. This shows that you’re not only prepared, but attentive, too. We also love when interns ask questions – we want to make sure you have a good understanding of each task at hand. And don’t be afraid to ask the daring questions, like “what if we did it this way?” or “have you thought of it this way before?” Questions like that will surely knock our socks off.

 

Treat this like a real job.

We hope you see this opportunity as more than just another college credit hour or another entry on your resume. Treat this internship like a real job because, well, that’s what it is. A real job. We give our interns real projects with real deadlines with real expectations. Forget the fluff projects you’ve had at other internships – at Dittoe PR, each intern is plugged into a dedicated account so you can see the ins and outs of how an account team works. Our goal is for you to walk away feeling like you have worked in a true agency setting.

 

Own your mistakes and grow from them.

We all make mistakes – from interns to senior account managers, it’s going to happen. The best thing you can do is to own that mistake and grow from it. Instead of dwelling on what happened and having it affect your confidence, look at each mistake as a learning opportunity. We don’t expect you to get everything right the first time, but we do hope to see you improve little by little over the course of your internship.

 

Maintain a “first-day” attitude.

I have to admit, I didn’t come up with this point on my own, but this one has really stuck with me. We all want to make a great initial impression – we usually do this by dressing professionally, taking notes, arriving early, participating in extra activities, etc. But don’t let complacency get in the way. While we’re a pretty laid-back bunch, remember to stay professional throughout your internship. Just because you start to feel comfortable doesn’t mean you can start to slack off in other areas. Treat every day like it’s your first day.

 

Ask for feedback.

The only way you can grow is if you ask for feedback. While we try to give feedback on projects in real-time, we often get bogged down and can let this crucial step fall to the side. But by taking this extra step and asking us for feedback shows that you care and that you want to improve. I can guarantee if you ask someone for feedback, you’ll receive it.

 

Integrate yourself with the team.

We truly see our interns as an extension of our team and not just interns. We love when interns join us during activities outside the office – lunches, book clubs, house warmings, etc. This allows our team to get to know you on a more personal level and help build deeper connections. It also shows that you want to be a part of our team. It doesn’t go unnoticed, and it’s a small act that can go a long way.

 

Think you have what it takes to be a DPR intern? We’re now accepting applications for our 2019 summer internship program through Feb. 15. To apply, send your cover letter, resume with references and three diverse writing samples to Vanessa Staublin at vanessa [at] dittoepr.com.

 

 

Now Accepting Applications for 2019 Public Relations Summer Internship

If you’re interested in experiencing PR agency life and gaining real-world knowledge and experience, then Dittoe Public Relations may be the place for you! We’re hiring public relations interns for summer 2019, and we want you to apply! This internship is paid, with part-time or full-time options available.

 

Here’s what you need to know:

Dittoe PR interns are responsible for assisting with the execution of strategic public relations and social media initiatives and contributing to the success of the firm’s clients. Interns will be mentored by intern directors and work closely with the firm’s entire staff, from account coordinators to the company’s partners.

 

This internship is for detail-oriented, self-starters looking to develop a well-rounded public relations skill set in an energetic and challenging environment. The ideal candidate should have strong communication skills (both verbal and written), initiative, and creativity, as well as feel comfortable juggling multiple projects and deadlines. Key tasks will focus on media relations, research and analysis, reporting, content creation and more.

 

Sampling of responsibilities:

  • Drafting compelling content such as press releases, media pitches, social media posts and more
  • Carrying out special event planning tasks
  • Participating in agency meetings, training sessions and brainstorming sessions
  • Handling research and analysis projects in support of client objectives as needed
  • Researching comprehensive press lists for local, national and trade media
  • Contributing to the execution of media relations campaigns
  • Assisting with client and business projects as needed
  • Assisting with administrative duties as assigned by staff

 

Key qualifications:

  • Actively enrolled in or a recent graduate of a university journalism, public relations, strategic communications, marketing, advertising or other related program
  • Previous professional or relevant internship experience (public relations experience is a plus)
  • An understanding of basic journalism and media relations skills
  • Solid, versatile writing skills in both creative and technical fields
  • An ability to be professional and personable in written and verbal communication
  • Demonstrates attention to detail and good judgment
  • Smart, creative, assertive, and innovative individual who thrives in a fast-paced environment
  • Flexible and willing to collaborate with teams
  • Proven ability to effectively prioritize and manage multiple tasks and competing deadlines
  • Additional knowledge in social media, design, photography/videography are a plus

 

To apply, send a cover letter, resume with references, and three diverse writing samples to Vanessa Staublin at vanessa [at] dittoepr.com. No phone calls please. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 P.M. EST on Friday, Feb. 15.

5 Tips for Wrapping Up Your Internship

Completing an internship is essential to gaining hands-on, real life experience and skills that you otherwise wouldn’t get in a classroom setting. In fact, a majority of Dittoe PR employees started their PR careers as interns here – including me!

 

Like all good things, an internship must come to an end. If you’re currently interning somewhere, are you prepared for the final chapter? These key tips will help you end your internship on a high note, and, hopefully, guarantee success in your future career-related endeavors.

 

End on a high note.

The end of your internship is just as important as the start. Don’t let the allure of a semester ending distract you from finishing strong.

 

Inevitably, workflow decreases as the semester comes to a close, but don’t let that seep into your productivity. Instead of online shopping for the next interview blazer (that you’ll only use once), show initiative and ask for more assignments. Someone is bound to need help, and the impression you’ll leave on your team is invaluable. Showing commitment to your role could even help to land you another internship or a full-time gig!

 

Leverage your relationships.

It’s not against the rules to ask about potential job openings at your company. If you are having trouble finding your next opportunity, take advantage of the professional network you’ve been building! Especially if you made a great impression, that commitment shows your initiative and dedication.

 

Prepare a list of your contributions during your internship and reasons why you would be a valuable asset to any growing team. Then, talk your mentor or internship director for next steps. Even if you don’t get to stay, they may be able to reach out to their industry peers and find a good fit for you, make an introduction or even provide a recommendation.

 

As a matter of fact, I showed my interest for staying on permanently at Dittoe PR two months into my internship and look where I am today!

 

Create an online portfolio.

In today’s digital age, an online portfolio is crucial to demonstrating your abilities as a professional and standing out against other qualified candidates. It can be as easy as updating your LinkedIn profile with verbiage about your professional roles thus far. Consider uploading completed projects that you are proud of, so recruiters can easily see your samples, and sharing measurable results (i.e. the number of media hits or social media analytics that resulted from your work).

 

Want to go the extra mile? Design your own online portfolio by utilizing easy-to-use tools such as Weebly or Wix. Include your resume, writing samples, letters of recommendation and more to show off your professional prowess.

 

Seek out feedback.

As you approach the end of your internship, it is important to ask your mentor and peers for feedback. Seeking out feedback shows that you want to improve and learn from your prior mistakes. Chances are your colleagues have been in this field for a while – they know a few things!

 

Be sure to schedule an “exit interview” with your internship mentor or director. Take the opportunity to gauge your progress throughout the internship. Pick his or her brain about your strengths, weaknesses and where to go from here.

 

Stay in touch.

No one likes to be ghosted. Especially your internship coordinators or fellow coworkers. Just because your time at the company is over does not mean it’s the time to completely distance yourself. If you maintain contact, whether it be via a professional networking site such as LinkedIn or taking the time to send out a monthly update to your internship mentor, it shows that you care. Your internship is a stepping stone into getting a full-time position, don’t let it go to waste.

 

If you’re considering taking that next step and applying for a full-time position, be sure to do all the necessary research first. What is required of you to apply? Which writing samples would be appropriate to send? Gather all of your materials first, then communicate in-person with your company’s hiring manager to discuss next steps.

 

Like they say during finals week – finish strong!

 

Interested in applying for an internship at Dittoe PR? Contact Vanessa Staublin at vanessa@dittoepr.com to learn more about our Summer 2019 internship program.