Five Life Skills Gained Through Public Relations

There’s no denying that my skillset has grown vastly since I began my career at Dittoe PR back in 2015. From starting as an intern to now leading our intern program, I have my all-star team of coworkers to thank for teaching me the ins and outs of public relations. I’ve learned how to be proactive, how to think like a journalist, how to navigate a PR crisis and several other areas of expertise that you can’t really learn in a classroom setting.

 

While there are several things that can be taught, other life skills that come naturally by trade. Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain (and grow) the following life skills through my time working in public relations:

 

Adaptability.

One of the first things I learned when I first started in the PR world is how to be f-l-e-x-i-b-l-e. Being able to adapt to other’s schedules or navigate a change of plans it imperative in our industry. I can recall on several occasions where I’ve sent something to a client for approval, only to be told that the core details have since changed. Being able to adapt quickly will not only help you grow in the fast-paced world of PR, but with our ever-changing lives.

 

Awareness.

I’ve learned how important it is to be aware of what’s going on in the world and around me. This stems back to my high school and college journalism classes, where we were required to take current events quizzes. While they were slightly annoying at the time (sorry Professor Bridge), I’ve realized how vital it is to know what’s going in our world. In our industry, I’m constantly following trends and reading up on current events, which can help with newsjacking efforts for clients.

 

Being up-to-date of current events is a life skill that you can carry throughout your life. It can expand your general knowledge and can help you make more informed decisions. Plus, knowing what’s going on in the world can help your general communication skills when it comes to networking events or chatting with your peers.

 

Confidence.

I had to grow pretty quickly in a small office setting. With a team of less than 20, I’ve been assigned tasks in the past that were new to me. I had to build my confidence and sometimes put on a “fake-it-‘til-you-make-it” face. My first in-studio segment? I obviously had never been to one, let alone attended one by myself, but I had to muster up the courage and confidence and act like it was my twentieth time going in-studio with a client. I’ve been faced with several similar instances since and will likely continue to for the rest of my life, but being thrown into these situations has helped me gain the confidence I’d probably never have if I worked in a different office setting.

 

Persistence.

In the world of PR, you have to be persistent. Emails get buried in inboxes and often go unseen by the media. Don’t give up if you haven’t heard back, and don’t be shy following up or tweaking your pitch! Sometimes it can take several follow ups before a reporter agrees to do a story. While this is a more obvious skill for our industry, this is something that has translated into other areas of my life (planning a wedding, hearing back from a consultant, etc.). If you don’t hear from someone right away, don’t give up!

 

Time management.

Deadlines. We all love them. After joining the Dittoe PR team full time, it took me some time to figure out a good time management system. There are several tasks we must complete during the day, but it’s ultimately up to us on how we divvy that time up. Giving yourself and your team internal deadlines and setting expectations on how long a project should take will help when trying to figure out how to manage your 40-hour work week. This goes outside of the office, too – setting goals for yourself, like finishing a book once a month or working out three times a week, will help give you a better understanding of how to manage your time wisely.

 

While I can go on and on about all the life skills I’ve learned while working public relations, I feel like these skills have not only helped me grow professionally, but personally, too. If you’re a student interested in an internship at Dittoe PR (and gaining some of these skills), please send your resume with references, cover letter and three diverse writing samples to vanessa [at] dittoepr.com.

Five Tips to Help You Succeed at Your Public Relations Internship

For many college students nearing graduation, completing an internship that will provide useful experience to apply post-graduation is a necessity. After wrapping up another year as a public relations student, I went into my first day as an intern at Dittoe PR in sponge mode, prepared to soak up all of the knowledge radiating from some of the best PR pros in the business.

 

Throughout the course of my internship, I was exposed to the different sides of public relations, including media relations, social media, thought leadership and more. I learned several invaluable skills that will be applicable to the rest of my professional career. I even became proficient in other valuable life skills along the way such as how to fix a printer and, surprisingly, a muffler as well!

 

Here are a few tips to help get the most out of your internship experience and set yourself up for a successful semester:

 

Take notes.

Whether it be in in-person client meetings, on phone calls or when receiving project assignments, it is important you write down what you hear. These notes can be used as a reference while working on your project assignments and could help someone else later on.

 

Taking detailed notes will help you avoid asking your colleague, boss or client to repeat themselves. Plus, it is shows you are listening and value what they have to say.

 

Utilize different platforms.

With multiple projects to simultaneously juggle, PR pros often wish there were more than 24 hours in a day. Using different PR software such as TrendKite, Cision and Sprout will help you complete your work as efficiently as possible.

 

Familiarize yourself with the platforms being used at your firm and review them frequently for new updates. Chances are that a majority of firms use these platforms, so learning them now will pay off in the long-run.

 

Prioritize your projects.

One of the most telling qualities of a successful PR pro is the ability to manage time. As an intern, it is important to demonstrate to leadership that you possess the skills required manage time and priorities.

 

When receiving your project assignments, assess the the urgency, value and effort required from each in order to meet deadlines and get to work. If you are struggling to meet a deadline, be sure to let your team members know ahead of time. They will appreciate the heads up and they may even give advice on how to better prioritize in the future.

 

Ask questions.

Make every moment a learning opportunity. Asking questions is the best way to eliminate confusion, stimulate idea generation and show the higher-ups you’re serious about your work. Additionally, asking questions helps you develop better communication skills, which are one of the most valuable tools a PR pro can possess.

 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Growth occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone. A way to increase your growth opportunities in your internship is by taking on projects you have never done before.

 

Challenging yourself in an internship will allow you to make mistakes with less pressure and, again, show the company’s leadership that you’re dedicated to improving yourself and your PR skills. After all, there is no better way to learn than by diving in head first!

 

Interested in applying for an internship with Dittoe PR? We’re currently accepting applications for our Spring 2019 program. Final all the details here or email your resume and cover letter to vanessa [at] dittoepr [dot] com.

 

This blog was authored by former intern Paige Thompson

How To Use Your PR Internship as a Networking Opportunity

By: Lyndsey Isenhower

 

If you’ve ever applied for a job, you’ve probably heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” The more people you connect with in the company or industry that you aim to be in, the higher chance for employment. Networking is one of the most valuable tools available to get where you want to go. And internships are a great way to begin the networking process – after all, you meet and work with people that are already in your chosen industry!

 

As a former intern myself, here are a few tips for doubling your internship as a networking opportunity:

 

Do Your Research.

On the first day of your internship, walk in knowing everything you can about the company and industry. It will be difficult to connect with professionals if you have nothing relevant to say to them, so spend time researching the company history, top executives, past achievements and even client industries if that information is available.

 

The more you know on the first day at your internship, the more reliable, interested and committed you seem to the job. When presented the opportunity to speak with executives, you will already have a basic understanding of what they do and why their work matters. From there, you can dive in and ask questions that go beyond the surface level.

 

Put Yourself in Uncomfortable Situations.

Speaking with employees at your internship may be intimidating at first; however, establishing a relationship with people in the workplace will make your time there more enjoyable and worthwhile in the long run.

 

Don’t be afraid to speak up and share ideas during team meetings because this could lead to further connection and brainstorming between you and your superiors. During downtime or breaks, engage with a variety of peers and supervisors to show your enthusiasm with being a part of the team. Bonding with fellow interns is important, but they aren’t the ones offering you a job after graduation.

 

Diving into the office banter and team lunches can be a way to experience coworkers apart from the business setting, which also helps them familiarize themselves with you. You want these people to be able to speak on your behalf, so keep it office appropriate, but be yourself.

 

Connect on Social Media.

Social media is becoming more and more prevalent in everyday life, but it is also becoming more useful for businesses as well. Millennials and members of Gen Z are in the perfect position to use these platforms professionally, because we’re already so familiar from personal use.

 

Connecting on these platforms – and keeping them up-to-date – also  gives you a chance to keep up with your teammates after your internship ends. Something as simple as liking their pictures can keep you on their mind, but congratulating them on a promotion, direct messaging them to grab coffee with you or just checking in with them will be sure to make a lasting good impression.

 

Another quirk to note about social media involves the timing in which you should add your coworkers as “friends.” Adding people on social media too quick can seem forced and not genuine, so it’s better to have established a relationship first before adding them on social media. While you may connect on LinkedIn early on, you may want to wait until closer to the end of the internship to become Facebook “friends.”

 

Take Initiative.

Hopefully, taking initiative has become second nature to you by this time in your college career. Being proactive in helping your coworkers accomplish day-to-day tasks can alleviate their stress, as well as make showcase your skillset and capabilities. Employers love to see interns going above and beyond what is expected of them because it (a) shows you care and (b) helps you stand out.

 

Small tasks that have nothing to do with the job itself, like unloading the dishwasher or volunteering to grab coffee for a coworker, are great places to start when you are unfamiliar with the day-to-day tasks of the job. As silly as they may seem, these simple tasks show you’re invested in your time at the company and eager to be a part of the team.

 

Getting the most out of your PR internship requires many other steps like working hard, sharing valuable ideas, following instructions and meeting deadlines, but networking could possibly be the most long-lasting and critical takeaway from an internship.

 

Interested in applying for an internship at Dittoe PR? You won’t regret it! Learn more about the program and to apply by checking out the spring internship callout. Applications close Sept. 15!