Summer internships are a whole lot more than just a fancy addition to stick on your resume or something to fill those long summer days. They’re meant to open your eyes to how the real world handles and uses PR. After spending the summer interning at a hospital in a big city, I learned quite a few PR secrets that never came up in the classroom.
Ask the hard questions.
The best way to truly understand how and why something is done the way it is in an organization is to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask about PR situations and tactics done in the company. As an intern, you are there to further understand the world of PR, not just to complete menial tasks.
Try new things.
Coming to my internship I had little experience with using the Adobe products or designing any graphic content. Given a little instruction and a whole lot of patience, I ended up learning how to use new software programs and was able to design for several in house publications. Now I have not only the experience but my creations to add to my portfolio.
Pay attention in your communication classes.
To be honest, I haven’t loved every Communication/PR class that I have been required to take. However, the material from my least favorite class ended up being the most useful to me throughout my entire internship. Pay attention in those classes because they really are prepping you for real world experience.
Confidentiality is key.
Okay, so maybe this is drilled into my head because I interned at a hospital (hello the world of HIPPA laws) but being able to hear and handle sensitive information about clients and the organization is crucial. Trust is something you build over time but can be destroyed in a moment.
As the school year starts up and you prepare to start classes and new internships, keep in mind these few secrets and I promise that you will enjoy your intern experience a lot more than you could have ever expected.
Megan Siegle is a senior communication major with a focus in Public Relations at Geneva College. She serves as the Historian for her PRSSA chapter as well as president/PR Director for The Genevans choir. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn.