10 Tips on How to Go From Fresh Faced Intern to Impressive Employee
By Stephanie Graham
You’ve just finished another episode of Sex and the City. You should really be finishing off that last pesky Uni assignment which is due in three days, but hey, it’s nearly the end of semester and you still have three days, right?
A half empty bottle of wine is sitting beside your bed (you’re watching Sex and the City so it’s appropriate), and as you reach over to refill your glass, empty packets of Cadbury favourites crumple under the indent you’ve made from sitting in the same position for so long. As you slowly pour the Pinot gris into your glass, you can’t help but think, that Samantha Jones, she has really got it all figured out. Countless events, an endless list of media contacts, her own PR company and not to mention her charismatic personality that oozes confidence and power. As you click to the next episode (anxious to see whether Carrie and Big are going to get back together… AGAIN) an itching desire burns within you; you want to be the next PR superstar!
Ok, so maybe I’m the only one who has a slight Sex and the City obsession and a possible problem with binging on addictive TV shows, but one thing Sex and the City made me realise was that I wanted to get into PR. Unfortunately, as I soon learnt on my first day of Uni, PR is NOT what the effortlessly fabulous Samantha Jones portrays it to be in SATC. Of course, there are many aspects that are similar to the PR life of Samantha Jones, but there is so much more to PR.
For starters, getting into the industry: So you want to be a PR star, but where do you start?
You’re young, fresh faced and ambitious. If you’re like I was, you’ve just come out of Uni and ready to take on the PR Industry. You are faced with a big slap of reality that hits you when you realise you aren’t the top dog like you were at Uni anymore, in fact, you are at the bottom of the food chain. But here’s the good news, EMBRACE IT! You will soon move up.
But how exactly do you do that? How do you go from being that shy, inexperienced intern to a confident and experienced full time employee?
Here are my top 10 tips to help you impress your peers and leave them begging to hire the intern:
Stand out from the crowd
This sounds cliché, but in a creative industry where first impressions mean everything, you need to stand out from all the other ambitious graduates and Uni students out there. This could be anything from submitting a resume that’s different from your traditional CV, to actually taking the initiative to get off your butt and personally knock on the door of the PR agency and hand in your resume in person (after all, you are about to work in a communications industry, you need to show you can communicate with confidence!).
Do your research
As much as we don’t like to admit it, we’ve all had a sneaky Facebook or Instagram stalk of someone, so why not put those sightly creepy stalker skills to good use and take the time to research the agency you would like to work for. Find out who works there, who their clients are and their recent achievements. This will impress your employers during an interview. It also shows that you have great research skills and initiative, which is vital in PR! (Just don’t mention that trip they took to Queensland 3 years ago, because then you might look a bit creepy).
Know what you want
Before you begin your internship, sit down and think about what you want to get out of your time working as an intern. If you’re goal is to transition into full time work, make this clear from the beginning and utilise all the resources you are exposed to. By working out what it is you want, you’re time as an intern will be extremely valuable.
Ask lots of questions
It may seem daunting walking into an agency of experienced PR pro’s, but remember, you are there to learn the ropes and mould into a pro yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. After all, that’s the best way to learn!
Be a sponge
Soak up as much information as you possibly can, it helps to write everything you’ve learnt down so you can reflect on it at the end of your time.
Show your enthusiasm and passion!
You want to work in PR right, this is your passion? Then show it! This could be even something as small as mentioning every so often to your peers and boss how much you’re enjoying your time as an intern and how much you value it.
Own your mistakes
It’s okay to make mistakes, we all make them. As an intern, owning your mistakes shows you are willing to learn and making these mistakes is also what will mould you into a PR professional! Trust me, once you make a mistake (and yes, I’ve made a few, you will never make it again!).
It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re at the bottom of the food chain. You might make a mistake and think everyone around you must think you’re stupid. But guess what? Nobody expects you to be perfect, so stop feeling sorry for yourself and let it motivate you! You can sometimes feel like people don’t take you seriously because you’re ‘just the intern’, but show them your talent and dedication and you will soon become a vital and loved member of the team. Positivity is key!
Ahh, the old saying ‘good things come to those who wait’, in life and in work, this saying (typically recited annoyingly too often by your parents if they are anything like mine) speaks truth. If you are willing to put in the hard yards, good things will come to you, it’s only a matter of time.
Take initiative and trust your instincts
This could be anything from taking a hot cuppa to your boss after they come out of a meeting, to speaking up if you have an idea you think would be amazing. Just because you aren’t as experienced as your peers, doesn’t mean your ideas are any less valuable, so trust your gut and you will impress!
Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and take on the PR world!