By Hattie Thorpe Gunner
A PR internship offers graduates the chance to do much more than simply gain agency experience. Working in such a diverse and fast-paced industry, graduates can build a range of valuable skills and relationships if they maximise their time. To mark the halfway point of my internship with leading PR consultancy, GingerMay, I am passing on my top tips to help graduates make the most of their PR internship:
- Set the right expectations:
To be mutually beneficial, an internship must also be the right fit. While your employer is helping you kick-start your PR career, it is crucial that the experience enables you to develop the right skills. Don’t be afraid to ask your employer about their expectations and what your position will entail during your interview. This will not only determine if the internship is the right choice, it will also give you a blueprint of how to provide real value from the moment you start.
- Get out of your comfort zone:
Challenge yourself by volunteering for extra activities or projects outside your department, and take advantage of networking events. By proving your ability to take on additional responsibilities, you can gain more practical experience and boost your prospects. At GingerMay, our work with the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) presents the opportunity to attend forums, which help build industry knowledge and connections. I also work as part of the company’s social committee, which has given me an insight into events organisation and deepened my integration with the company culture.
- Treat your internship like a permanent role:
Approaching your internship with the same commitment as a full-time job will help you become an equal member of the team. Embodying the company goals and values in your work will demonstrate your dedication – whether you complete tasks ahead of deadline or personally seek new pitch ideas. A serious attitude to client programmes will see you play a bigger role within the team, providing greater insight into the way a PR consultancy works. Developing your understanding of industry terminology will also provide the knowledge required to participate in current discussions, and encourage innovation.
- Take feedback as a positive:
An internship is a learning exercise, an experience that highlights both your strengths and areas for development. Feedback is an integral part of the process that pinpoints where you can improve, so don’t be discouraged by it. Instead, view the feedback you receive as a guiding light for better performance. For example: difficulty juggling last minute deadlines can enhance time management, a pitch that does not pique journalist interest can be a pointer to refine your technique and source a more engaging subject.
While the success of any internship depends on a company that empowers you to learn and gain practical experience, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your time. With a clear idea of your role, a drive to challenge yourself, and a positive attitude you can effectively build the foundations of a great PR career.