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.