Posts Tagged ‘interning’

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Five things I’ve learned as a PR intern

July 9, 2009

I’d blame my lack of blog posts on a busy past few weeks, but I know that’s a lame excuse.  Therefore, I’ll skip straight to the juicy content!

Christian and me touring the Windy City!

Christian and me touring the Windy City during a vacation with his family.

I took my first trip to Chicago this past weekend and was amazed by the city’s opportunities and culture.  Although I don’t think I could live in such a large city, it was nice to see an area where opportunities for PR professionals thrive.

In honor of an amazing weekend vacation and a short work week, here’s a brief list of five things I’ve learned in seven months as a PR intern:

1. Those who work for your organization probably don’t know as much about social media as you do, nor do they really care.

When you’re a PR student, you’re surrounded by social media.  It’s drilled into your brain.  Words like “blogging,” “tweep” and “tweeting” are part of your daily vocabulary.  You can make your point in 140 characters or less.  You know what Mashable is, and you’re probably following a few blogs with an RSS feed reader.

When you’re surrounded by the SM hype 24/7, you may forget a simple concept: Those outside of the PR bubble aren’t so knowledgeable- or enthusiastic- about social media.  Although my coworkers in the PR Department are SM savvy, many employees in other departments are not.  For many of them, establishing a Web presence seems tricky and/or absurd.  This is why you have to explain the value of SM before you try to drag them in.

2. Semesters move at a glacial pace.  The real world doesn’t.

During an average semester, PR students spend countless hours brainstorming, writing, strategizing and revising until a case study or media kit reaches perfection.

This phenomenon does not occur in the real world.

Although big projects and campaigns do require the same process,  I don’t sit at my desk every day and write out the reason I’m creating a news release or brochure.  However, it’s always important to keep the objective and “overarching strategy” in the back of your head when working on any project for your client or organization.

3. Convergence isn’t just for journalism, kids.

When I began my journey as a pre-PR major in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, “convergence” was the buzz word.  Everyone was talking about how the newspaper, TV station and radio station were all interrelated and working together through one converged media site.

Convergence is the same in the PR industry, too.  Truth is: PR people don’t just do PR anymore.  You also have to dip your hand into other aspects of communication, including advertising and marketing.  I wish I would have known this earlier; I would have squeezed a few advertising and marketing classes into my schedule!  Knowledge of design and creating video would be helpful, too.

4. Editing is a blessing.  A big blessing.

Microsoft Office’s spell check is a good friend to have around, but he’s not always a reliable buddy.  Editing your work (or someone elses!)  may seem like a drag, but it’s a blessing in disguise.  It’s great to have another eye to see what your 8 a.m.-with-no-coffee eye didn’t catch the first time.  Editing also saves you from little errors that could be embarrassing to your career, too.

Note: My boyfriend found a typo in this entry after I published it.  Yet another example of why editing is so important!

5. Questions are golden.

I’ve noticed that great PR practitioners ask brilliant questions.  Life has a lot to do with listening, but it also has a lot to do with the questions you ask.  Good questions and an inquisitive mind can lead to good answers, less confusion and solid communication!

If you’re an intern or if you’ve ever interned, what’s the greatest lesson you learned?

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