What I Learned From My PR Internship (And It’s Not How To Order Coffee)
When I started my PR internship two months ago, I was a little lost when it came to what I wanted to do with my career. Public relations interested me, but so did a few other career options. Now I have direction, drive and a somewhat concrete plan for my future.
Going in, I didn’t have many expectations. I knew pop culture loves an intern horror story, but I didn’t delve into those. I wanted to learn and not let my overactive imagination colour my experience. My only real indication of the PR experience came from my theory-based university studies. All they’d taught me about the practicalities is that it’s a whole bunch of press releases and product recalls. Even I, naïve as I was, had some doubts.
The reality of PR is commuting over an hour each way to work alongside intelligent, like-minded people in an office with harbour views. Glamorous, isn’t it? A little and it’s made me happy, which I’m sure is the point. They say if you find a job you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life. While I don’t think that sentiment is entirely true, working in PR is hard work but it’s also rewarding.
Here are some of the things my internship taught me.
You Have To Be Social
In the back of my mind, I’d known social media formed a big part of public relations –but I hadn’t truly grasped how big a part. I’d learned about the dangers of social media for brands. How going viral is a bad thing and how little control PR pros have over the world-wide web. My lecturers focused on the negatives, tending to gloss over the positives. But in reality, social media is part of day-to-day work in this industry. It’s also a great way to hone your writing skills. Speaking of which…
Variety is Key
University lecturers emphasised the importance of tailoring your writing for different audiences and clients. What they didn’t mention is how difficult this is, especially within the space limitations of social media. Going from talking tech one minute to recipes for parents the next is challenging. That said, it’s satisfying seeing tweets that I’ve written published online. This thrill of being good at something I enjoy is a feeling I hope never goes away.
Get to Know Your Computer
Interning really tested my computer skills. As expected, in an office you spend a lot of time at a computer. I knew my skills in this were somewhat lacking, but now I have a grasp of many different programs. I’ve improved my researching ability and increased my level of confidence. These experiences go some way to prepare me for future jobs in the industry and I’m keen to develop them further.
My PR internship allowed me to make some big decisions about my education, career and how I want my life to pan out. I question why I waited until my fourth year at university to intern. It’s something I should have done years ago!