Here’s how to get the most from your agency internship
Two-term LevLane intern offers five top tips
Six months ago, I walked into LevLane as a public relations intern with little office experience, and not a clue of what to expect. For two semesters, I sat at the front desk in LevLane’s lobby greeting clients, helping them to their meetings, and feeling my heart sink when I could not match a face to the name of the colleague that the client was in to see. The frantic feeling quickly faded and my confidence grew as I began to work and interact more with my new co-workers.
My internship at LevLane has taught me about the industry I’m pursuing, what to expect from PR life inside an advertising agency, and most importantly, what is expected from me. My activities ranged from checking in dozens of media members at a big event, to contributing to blog posts and press releases, to sitting in on client calls and brainstorming meetings.
As terrifying as my first few months may have been, I now see what a gratifying opportunity it has been to watch such a successful integrated agency operate. In my final days at LevLane, I have been asked to share my top five intern tips, so that they might benefit other interns to follow:
As an intern you’re not supposed to know what to expect, and with that will always come nerves and uncertainty. No matter how unsure you are of yourself or your surroundings, a confident smile will always be the best way to smooth over any uncertainties that you may be experiencing.
From having multiple copies of your resume available when you arrive for your interview (trust me, you never how many people you will end up interviewing with), to always having pen and paper handy in case of being called into a meeting, being ready means you have it together. A trustworthy intern is never scrambling or unorganized, and although none of us start out like this, it should be your goal to leave this way.
You have landed an internship, and you are right where you want to be – now it’s time to work. Intern work may seem mundane and unimportant, but in the grand scheme of things, intern tasks are often foundational layers for the work that comes next. Completing these tasks in an efficient and timely manner will not only prove your worth, it will improve the work and outcome for the agency. These experiences will also serve as great practice for you as a PR professional. Landing an internship alone does not prepare you for what may lie ahead, but presents you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in every task and to learn as much as possible.
Feeling like the lowest man on the totem pole will never be fun, but it’s easier if you open up to the people around you. There is nothing wrong with asking for help if you don’t understand something, and there is great reward in having the courage to respectfully add your input once you’re comfortable. Getting involved and reaching out to others is the absolute best way to break out of your comfort zone and form professional relationships – and even new friendships – along the way.
Learn and grow
Your internship will give you the opportunity to dive head first into an industry that you love, and will serve as a way for you to gain valuable experience you can’t get in a classroom. How much you absorb while you’re immersed in this world is completely up to you. Within this learning period, you have a unique opportunity to learn about yourself; take advantage of it. The experience will allow you to figure out what you like and what you don’t, who you are as a worker among others, and the truth about your shortcomings juxtaposed directly against your strengths. An internship does not just fulfill a credit requirement, or hold a place on your resume; an internship rubs your rough edges smooth, instills a new air of confidence, and helps you evolve into a professional who’s ready for anything.
By Gina Turdo, Public Relations Major, Rowan University Class of 2015