Good internships are hard to come by and even harder to land. For most, an internship is an opportunity that can open so many doors to a successful future, especially in the public relations industry. I have spent the past five months interning at DNA Creative Communications in Greenville, South Carolina and have learned more than I bargained for in not only about the public relations industry, but in what it takes to be a public relations professional. As I sit here and reflect on my time spent as an intern and what it takes to be successful, I am realizing that there are three simple keys to achievement, yet hold extraordinary value.
As an intern, it is important to realize that you are there to learn and therefore listening to your mentors is such a vital aspect to your position. Public Relations is a craft that is best learned by doing and therefore will take time to become familiar with. Even in my fifth month as an intern with DNA, I am still learning new things everyday. I find it helpful to always make sure I have a notepad and pen with me when I meet with other coordinators or executives within the agency to write down any notes or helpful hints.
The rest of the office does not expect an intern to know a ton and may even start to worry he or she does not have any questions regarding their position and/or tasks that are assigned to them. Therefore, ask questions, even if you think you may know the correct answer. It is better to ask too many questions and get the job done correctly the first time, rather than assume you know what you’re doing and then have completed it incorrectly, especially when so many projects have tight deadlines.
In addition to asking questions about your position, make sure to be continually asking for honest feedback from your colleagues and supervisor(s). An internship is a learning opportunity; asking others who are considered professionals in this industry will give you a clear understanding of where you are succeeding and where you need to focus on improvement.
Be Dependable and Consistent
I believe that being dependable and consistent is key to being a successful intern and that dependability lies in numerous aspects of the position. First and foremost, make sure you are committed to your position. If you have permanent hours with the company, make sure you are being punctual each and every day. Once you are in the office, it is important to put yourself in a professional and focused mind set where you ready and willing to produce the best quality work. Being consistent shows your employer that you are not only reliable, but that you are also capable of completing tasks for them successfully on a day-to-day basis, thus opening the door of opportunity to work on more complex and timely projects.
These three words, while so simple, have been unbelievably vital in my success that I have had thus far at DNA. There is far more that goes into one’s own individual achievement as an intern, or even as they continue on to a more permanent career, but success begins with the simple tasks and starting off on the correct path.