Curiosity, Participation and Networking – Getting the Most out of PR Internships

Published on 15th August 2023

This insights post is part of an overall #WorldcomCareers campaign. This piece was contributed by Kara Lundberg, Vice President and Head of Talent at Raffetto Herman Strategic Communications.

If you’re lucky like I was, your first public relations gig out of college will be a boot camp in all things PR. We’re talking the basics like media monitoring and prepping for interviews, and softer skills like organization, timeliness and team collaboration. Many quickly realize that in public relations, skill and strategy is learned and mastered on the job. College teaches us about communications theory and media mediums, but it’s not until you’re faced with your first announcement or writing assignment that it all gets real.

An internship or fellowship is a great place to start. These programs are designed to empower early career professionals with foundational strategic communications experience, which ideally challenges participants to expand their perspectives, develop their skills and find their passion.

For anyone in the early stages of their PR career experiencing many firsts, I offer three tips for getting in, getting more and getting ahead in whatever your path is.

  1. Be curious. Ask a lot of questions, especially when you’re faced with new opportunities or a challenge. Ask your colleagues and supervisors about the approach to a project during and after completion. Don’t let a question you have go unanswered. The same goes for when you receive feedback on your work. Take the time to understand why changes were made, what best practices exist for the work being done, and absorb that knowledge for your next opportunity at a similar task. This is all foundational for skill building and becoming a master of your trade.
  2. Participate. Today’s high-quality internships, fellowships and even first jobs should provide immersive learning experiences. For example, at RH Strategic, our highly coveted public relations fellowship gives aspiring PR pros a role on account teams. They benefit from on-the-job training and manage their own projects and deadlines. Our fellows get their hands dirty. Take advantage of these opportunities by actively participating in discussions and bringing ideas to the table.
  3. Network. Early in your career is a critical time to create meaningful connections. Whether it be within the organization you’re taking an internship with or connecting with professionals in the industry, make time now to schedule informal interviews, catch up with people over coffee or lunch, and keep in contact with people whose careers you admire. These small gestures go a long way in creating authentic connections that will support you throughout your career.

Like in any new environment, challenges are bound to show face. Learn from them. Asking questions is vital in enhancing understanding. You may make mistakes, you may fail, you will definitely learn, but how you choose to move forward separates those who can from those who can’t. Mastering a trade is messy. Fill up your days with new experiences and show initiative. And most of all, enjoy the adventure. A career in PR is fulfilling, especially when you’re surrounded by creativity and curious minds.

Make sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more career advice from our partners.  You can also find current PR career openings with our Partners.

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