PR Internship Do’s and Don’ts – Advice from the Pros

Anthony Cogswell, intern from The Fearey Group, and Kelly Potts, intern from HMA, are doing a four-week intern series on their blogs! Throughout this series they will be comparing and contrasting internships as well as different topics/conversations that are new to them in the PR world!

 Last Thursday, Anthony and Kelly participated in the #HAPPO Twitter Chat, hosted by David Landis, President of Landis Communications Inc. and our PRGN partner, in San Francisco. The topic of the chat was “How to turn your PR internship into a full-time job opportunity.”

Here are a few questions and replies from the HAPPO Chat:

Q1: #PR pros: how did you parlay your #PR internship into a FT job? #HAPPO.

@wester_brad: A1. As an intern, if you find yourself with downtime don’t be afraid to ask for more work. Show your passion. #HAPPO

A1: Make yourself indispensable. When you leave make them miss your presence. #happo

A1: Do every project 110% even if it seems small. This means comprehensive media lists and being a pro at media monitoring, clip tracking #HAPPO

Q2: Interns & #PR pros: Who has a great intern success story? Keys to success? #HAPPO

RT @SydneyAyers A2: Successful interns do things to stand out & not afraid of new challenges. They focus on open communications. #HAPPO

A2: Show you can handle yourself professionally in front of clients. Be articulate. Avoid typos and grammar mistakes in emails. #HAPPO

Great point! Asking for feedback is key. RT @jessikahkylie Don’t be afraid to ask how you’re doing, it’s the only way to improve! #HAPPO

Q3: Who has a #PR intern HORROR story? #HAPPO

RT @kathleenmcf A3: Interns who don’t take direction, think they’re above certain assignments (or disregard them completely). #HAPPO

A3: The right attitude is key. If you have the wrong one, show yourself the door. #PR requires a positive attitude #HAPPO

RT @NicoleLasorda A3: I have a few. The worst is always the one who really didn’t care and never put forth an effort. #happo #HAPPO

Q4#PR employers: How can intern candidates separate themselves from the pack & make you notice them? #HAPPO

A4: Submitting highest quality work every time helps distinguish the successful intern. #HAPPO

A4: For #PR intern candidates: Great writing. And bring your portfolio, don’t expect us to look online. #HAPPO

A4: Have a (appropriate) social media footprint. If you don’t, I’ll presume you’re hiding something. #happo


Our View:

 AC: Recent graduates from all over the world often run into one common obstacle as they attempt to break into the world of public relations. “How can I get a position that requires experience as a prerequisite if no organization will hire me for a job that provides experience?

Throughout the chat, a lot of the advice and guidance that was being provided seemed to be relatively simple. Give 110%, be curious, listen, ask questions, network, be outgoing, ask for more responsibility, be creative, act professionally, show attention to detail, be a great writer.

This advice isn’t necessarily anything earth-shattering and doesn’t really reinvent the wheel. However, all of the ideas that were brought up during the chat are fundamentally important when trying to make the transition from intern to team member. It was encouraging to hear that these qualities aren’t overlooked by successful people in the industry.

If you do a good job and try your hardest 24/7, people are going to notice. One of my favorite tweets was by Brad Wester: “Demonstrate the desire to learn and put in as much effort as possible. If you truly do both, you will stand out.”

This reminded me of a quote my dad often sites: “If your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”Henry J. Kaiser

All in all, I thought the HAPPO chat was a great opportunity for PR professionals to share and PR interns to learn exactly what it takes to be successful in this industry.

KP: Being just out of college – it is great to hear the advice from PR pros because they will tell you how it is! Throughout college I was told to be careful what you put on social media, because it will come back to haunt you. As one person told me, “what you put on social media before you have a job affects you when you want a job.” And then for Nicole Lasorda to say that in the HAPPO chat, it keeps reminding me that every social media posts means something.

As Anthony said, most of this information isn’t new – but it amazes me that there are many interns who just start out and have no clue that the way they carry themselves and the way that they work actually matter. It’s a wake-up call for many recent grads in my opinion.

I really found this chat helpful, because now that I am out of college, it’s a different ball game. Before I did my hours at work, went to school and then to my job. Now, this is my career and it’s a different transition than I expected. But I love what I’m able to work on here at HMA and am looking forward to what the future brings!

 Check out David’s blog post on this very subject!

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