Survival Guide for Your PR Agency Internship

September 5, 2019

For aspiring public relations professionals, starting your career with an internship at an agency is a great way to build valuable skills and learn more about the many areas of PR. At first, the agency world may seem overwhelming. It requires a head-first plunge into multiple client accounts and many different tasks. But if you have a thick skin and determination, you can survive the overwhelm, and earn rapid professional growth in a variety of areas.

As I wrap up my summer internship with Barokas, I wanted to provide some tips that will help future interns stay afloat as they dive in:

  • Listen carefully and always take notes. Agency work can sometimes cause your brain to run a million miles a minute, with many pressing tasks for multiple accounts. Slow down and practice active listening when you are given directions so that you can absorb all of the information. Write down the details of each task and any questions you may have. Applying these tips will help you digest each step of a project and keep track of your work on each account.
  • Ask for feedback. In addition to asking plenty of questions as you complete each task, it’s just as important to take feedback on your finished projects. There is always room for improvement and this is the biggest way that you can learn how to produce better work in the future. Don’t be afraid to ask for constructive criticism. Your coworkers will usually be happy to help, because it benefits them too.
  • Be flexible. Every day is different at an agency. That is what makes it exciting. Be prepared to enter a fast-paced environment where you quickly switch from one client to another and, therefore, from one industry to another. 
  • Reach out to everyone you can at the agency, not just your main points of contact. Try to build as many connections as you can while you are in this space. Take some time to get to know your other coworkers who are on different accounts. Growing your professional network is important and they should have helpful, experienced advice to give. 
  • Be competitive with yourself. Figure out where there is room to make adjustments and ask yourself how you can improve your work as you move forward. Always be ready to challenge yourself. 
  • Keep up with daily news. Read publications within your clients’ industries to know what is happening and how it affects your clients. It’s just as important to read up on general local and world news. Those broader stories may correlate with what your client is doing and serve as a timely opportunity for a proactive pitching angle.
  • Reflect on how your work benefits the team. This is my favorite tip for staying motivated and passionate about the work you are doing. There will be days where tasks like building media lists and tracking coverage will seem repetitive. Try to shift your perspective to consider what you are learning from the task, and how it helps your team. Even the most tedious tasks can have a great impact for the client, which can lead to even greater outcomes that you can be proud of. 

Best of luck to the future stellar PR agency interns reading this! 

Winter Calkins
Summer PR Intern

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