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

Think you have what it takes to be a Dittoe PR intern?

It’s that time of year again! We’ll be interviewing for our 2013 Spring internship positions in mid-October. If you’d like to be considered, read the description below and send your resume, cover letter and writing samples to christy [at] dittoepr.com.

Public Relations Internship Job Description:

Requirements/Skills: Public relations interns will be actively enrolled in, or a recent graduate of, a university journalism, public relations, marketing, advertising or other related program. Current students will preferably have at least sophomore standing. The individual must demonstrate the ability to undertake basic public relations writing assignments and possess an understanding of basic media relations skills, an ability to interact professionally with clients, and good judgment. A working knowledge of computers, as well as word processing and database management software is necessary. The public relations intern will be mentored by the intern director and will work closely with the firm’s account executives. The intern director will help the intern prioritize tasks and focus on multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously. Interns will work between 15-30 hours a week. Summer interns will work 40 hours per week. Prior relevant experience is preferred.

Responsibilities: We are looking for a paid intern to work with us on a wide variety of client projects, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting basic public relations materials including news releases, fact sheets, client meeting summaries, status reports, social media posts and other materials as directed
  • Carrying out special and media event planning activities and arrangements as outlined by the intern director
  • Attending and participating in client meetings, media training sessions, presentations and brainstorming sessions as directed
  • Assisting with the development and updating of media lists and other databases. Other tasks include database creation, data entry and update additions and corrections
  • Assisting with administrative duties including sorting, collating, stuffing envelopes, mailings and other administrative functions as assigned
  • Supporting the firm’s efforts by drafting news releases and performing research activities
  • Assisting firm staff with other client, business development and firm management projects as needed

Note: This is a paid internship, and we are seeking applicants that can work 15-30 hours a week.

Want a Job in PR? Create a Resume that Rocks!

In this job market, landing a job at a top PR firm is no easy task. The first step is to get noticed, and the best way to do that is to create a quality resume and cover letter that stands out from the rest. Here are some of my best tips for looking ‘hawt’ on paper.

Personalize your objective. I can’t tell you how many times I have received resumes with objectives that say, “Seeking opportunity in Public Relations, Advertising or Event Planning utilizing knowledge of blah, blah, blah…” PR is very different from advertising and event planning. Show me, specifically, that you want to work at a PR firm and that you are not just trying to interview here because desperation has made you open to anything.

Be creative with your formatting. PR pros are creative – show me that you are, too! You are not interviewing for an accounting position – so don’t use the same boring old template that everyone is taught to use their freshman year of college. Also, make sure that your font choices and text layout are easy to read and follow.

Include your social media experience. Social media is now an integral part of most PR pros’ work days. Illustrate that you know how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or blog. And include links to your social media profiles.

Note: If you include your Twitter handle on your resume (like a good little PR job seeker should), I will check you out on Twitter. Do not document your entire job search on Twitter. When I see a job candidate post things like, “Arrgh! Another rejection letter from XYZ PR Firm,” I think to myself – well, if XYZ PR Firm didn’t think they were good enough, then why should Dittoe PR?

Make sure you use AP Style. It’s no secret that PR pros follow AP Style guidelines – thus, your resume should follow AP Style. Don’t abbreviate Indiana as “IN.” Do write “Ind.” As a PR pro, we are trained to be copy editors, and little things like the aforementioned are noticed.

Double check everything. Do not trust Spell Check. Reread your resume and cover letter to make sure it is perfect. Silly mistakes look silly and misspelled words make me vomit.

Do not send two cover letters. That means do not send an email with a cover letter written in the body and then attach another cover letter document to the email. One cover letter is good enough.