An old cliché tells us “practice makes perfect.” Variations suggest “practice makes permanent.” But when it comes to a PR internship, one bit of wisdom rises above the rest: practice makes experience.
Although studying theory and researching media law may teach you a lot about the history and foundation of the PR industry, nothing is a real substitute for practical experience.
If you’re interested in working in a fast-paced field, an internship is your golden ticket to adjusting the pace of your own learning. The office is a whole new kind of classroom.
But what are some words of advice you should hear before you dive into the world of PR?
Continue reading to learn more about advice for future interns.
1. Own Your Experience
Arguably, the concept of “owning your experience” means something different to every person. It may mean setting aside a budget to buy workplace professional clothes, or brushing up on notes if you attend university. It might be simply realizing that an internship isn’t something you’re studying, it’s a direct part of your own life that carries a lot of potential.
Do whatever you need to do to realize that this experience is yours and it becomes what you make of it. When you have an internship, you were selected for your specific skill set and abilities, and you're more than capable of succeeding and learning at the same time.
As an intern you’ll represent something bigger than yourself, but the lessons you learn contribute to your own unique experience.
2. Everything is an Opportunity
PR is fast-paced. Something’s always going to be happening, so it’s important to stay organized and hold yourself accountable for absorbing all the necessary information.
Take notes on important things, or small things, or anything you feel is necessary so that you can remember detals and get in the habit of recording what your supervisors ask you to do. Little details will help you get more out of your time working as a PR pro and see every assignment as worthwhile.
If you’re inexperienced with social media and want to learn more, ask if you can have extra practice learning about social media, or speak to some of the people who handle it most. Same goes for any other part of the field, too. This goes hand-in-hand with owning your experience.
But don’t neglect anything because it seems unimportant. Chances are it’ll help you later on in unexpected ways.
3. Make Mistakes
Don’t forget your long-term goal: to learn more. Although it feels nice to get things right on the first try without messing up, a mistake may stick out as being more memorable and remind you to correct yourself later. Add whatever you learned from making errors to a long list of things that you know now.
Listening to someone who’s made mistakes tell you that “it’s okay to make mistakes” may feel like the terrible cliché to end all clichés, but you have to believe that the person who’s telling you that really means it. No one expects you to be perfect—but they do expect you to grow, so let yourself do so freely.
Above anything else, having an internship allows you to explore the field and decide how you want to work later. You’ll build connections, adjust to the atmosphere of a workplace environment, collect projects for a portfolio and leave feeling more confident than you did when you started. It’s all about the experience.