We have three great interns on board here at the Bradford Group this summer, and they are all doing a phenomenal job (not to mention, they met Tom Hanks). We are all so happy to have them here, and it brings me back to what feels like my seemingly endless semesters as a public relations intern. I loved those experiences…getting to know the team, the camaraderie I built with my fellow interns and learning new things each day.
My years of interning during college taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I continue to apply as a full-time public relations professional. Here are six of my favorites:
- Ask questions. A lot of duties as an intern involve research. Clarify any uncertainties you have on a project before you start. PR is a very detail-oriented and time sensitive field. It’s better to ask questions and show your supervisor you can do something right the first time than accidentally gather the wrong information or write something from the wrong angle. The more you’re able to tackle a task quickly and correctly, the more your supervisor will trust and rely on you.
- Write everything down. While getting directions from your supervisor, make sure you write it down…all of it. Even if it’s just a quick side project, writing it down will ensure you get all the details correct and save time in the long run (see above). Bonus: it just looks good. Get in the habit of always grabbing a notepad and pen when you leave your desk to chat with a supervisor or colleague.
- Go above and beyond. If you can, get in a couple minutes early and stay late. Check in at the end of the day and ask if your supervisor needs help with anything before you leave. See a team member is handling a large project? Ask if there is any way you can help lighten the load. Volunteer to man events and take on new projects. You might as well take advantage of every opportunity to learn and heighten your skills.
- Triple-check your work. Of course your supervisor will proofread your work, but stand out by triple checking to make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors, it is formatted correctly and you’re providing the information strategically. Ask a fellow intern to proofread your work before passing it along to your supervisor.
- Communicate. We’re supposed to be pros at this, right? Your supervisor should never have to wonder the status of something he or she gave you last week. Throughout a project, keep your supervisor up to speed on what’s going on and share if you hit any speed bumps. Getting guidance along the way will help you learn his or her tricks of the trade and better ways to do it the next time. Send a recap email at the end of every day with where things stand and your top items for the next day.
- Provide solutions. If you do run into a problem, share with your supervisor not only the issue, but also some solutions to help fix the problem. He or she will love that you are being proactive and thinking through the problem instead of relying on him or her to come up with a fix.