How to Make the Most Out of Your Summer Internship

School is out and summer internships are beginning. Internships are a proven way to expand knowledge, sharpen skills and gain real-life experience while establishing lasting connections in the industry. Plus, your new gig is also a way to get your feet wet and find out if a specific field is something you could see yourself doing full-time after graduation.

Summer internships can be highly competitive, but often provide more opportunities to work full-time without the stress of taking classes at the same time.

Now that you’ve landed your dream internship at a company you can see yourself working at full-time in the future, it’s time to focus on how you can make your internship experience the best it can be. Here are six ways to make the most out of your summer internship.

Make a strong first impression.
It’s all in the little things! From showing up on time and introducing yourself to your new team members to following your office’s dress code might seem like simple tasks, but these details are crucial for making a great first impression. A little bit of effort to help others can go a long way, even with tasks that fall outside of the typical intern to-do’s, such as helping to keep the kitchen clean or restock snacks.

Treat every day as your first, keeping a positive attitude and making yourself readily available for others to make a long-lasting impression.

Build your professional network.
An internship is a great time to build up your network of references, contacts and professionals who may one day help you get to where you want to go. Reach out to your new coworkers and the leadership team to grab a coffee or go out to lunch. Ask them about their career path and listen to their answers for ideas on how you can leverage their insight in the future. Building your network can include fun things, too. Consider joining the office book club or attending other social events in order to get to know your coworkers outside of the office.

Internships are one of the best ways to find out if an industry or company is the right fit for you, and the connections you make now could help you find a job in the future.

Stay organized.
One of my favorite tips is to keep a running to-do list or spreadsheet of projects and activities you’re working on. In some cases, you may be asked to share a weekly project update with your internship director, or you may need to submit a report for college course credit. Plus, keeping a log will help you recall what types of projects you’ve worked on over the course of your internship and better capture what you did on your resume.

Strong organizational skills will help to demonstrate to your new team that you’re ready for the real-world and can be trusted with important tasks and projects.

Develop your skills.
At the start of your internship, identify two or three skills you do not currently possess or that need improvement. Address your growth goals with your internship director and work on developing them further before the end of the summer.

If there are any opportunities for you to improve by attending a workshop or sitting in on a meeting, ask to take advantage of those. This will demonstrate a willingness to improve and allow you to gain more than just industry knowledge during your time with the company.

Ask for feedback frequently.
Asking for constructive feedback is one of the best ways to gauge your growth throughout your internship, as well as identify areas of improvement as you continue to grow. While feedback can sometimes be difficult to receive, understanding how to utilize constructive feedback to improve can make you even better.

When you can, ask your peers how you are doing and what you can do to grow – they are likely to give you a few pieces of advice as well!

End on a high note.

As you near the end of your summer internship, make sure to demonstrate your appreciation for the opportunity. Thank your supervisor, mentors and any other coworkers who helped you along your journey. A handwritten card is a small token of appreciation that will go a long way. It is often the small things you did or gestures of gratitude that people remember best.

You might also want to ask your coworkers if they would be willing to connect on LinkedIn, write you a recommendation or keep in touch for when you are looking for a real job.  Your summer internship placement might, in fact, be the best prospect for your first job out of college.

Interested in gaining real-life experience with an internship at Dittoe PR? We are now searching for fall interns. To apply, send a cover letter, resume with references, and three diverse writing samples to Sophie Maccagnone at sophie@dittoepr.com.

This blog post was drafted by former Dittoe PR intern Keeley Miller.

Now Accepting Applications for Public Relations Fall Internship 2019

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 fall 2019, and we want you to apply! This internship is paid and part-time or full-time options are 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 Sophie Maccagnone at sophie [at] dittoepr.com. No phone calls please. Applications must be submitted by 5 P.M. EST on Friday, June 21.

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.