Being an intern is the best learning experience you can ask for. You get to test your abilities with common entry-level PR work without the stress of feeling like you need to understand or be the best at everything. Everyone wants you to help and wants you to succeed. They know you’re not an expert, thus giving you the perfect opportunity to blow their expectations out of the water.
Looking back as an Account Coordinator now, I’m so grateful for my internship experience. I learned a ton, including some key takeaways that I still use in my position today:
Proofread (once, twice, three times…)
Because even spellcheck and auto-correct miss things. Everybody makes mistakes, and no one is expecting you to be perfect – especially as an intern. But, proofreading your work can go a long way with your team. It shows you’re paying attention to details, which is an extremely important quality to have in PR. It also helps make your managers’ lives easier. The less time they have to spend correcting your work, the more time they have back in their days (which they will be very grateful for!).
Double check EVERYTHING
And by everything, I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Facts, emails, addresses, you name it. One of the best things you can do as a PR professional is to cover all your bases. If you’ve exhausted all options – checked every database, tried every contact – there’s not much more your manager or client can ask of you. Not to mention, double checking things shows your manager you’re committed to doing your best work, which is exactly the type of impression you want to make as an intern or AC (or in any position, for that matter).
I know, I know, everybody says this. You might be sitting there about to skip over this paragraph because it’s so obvious. In reality, asking questions can be harder than it sounds. Sometimes you think you understand a project, but then you realize you have no clue what you’re doing as soon as you start working on it. Don’t panic! Even if you don’t have questions at the beginning, let your managers know you’ll reach out with questions as soon as you think of them. Again, this helps save time to ensure both you and whoever is reviewing your work are on the same page and can avoid multiple rounds of edits.
…in any way, shape or form you can think of! Anticipate questions your manager or client will ask. Respond to emails in a timely manner. Flag new contacts, outlets, HARO’s or other opportunities to your team. Let your team and/or manager know when you’re working on something so they don’t have to check up on you. Come to brainstorms with ideas, and come to one-on-ones prepared to talk about your goals and how you’re progressing towards them. I could go on and on! Essentially, being proactive helps you be more prepared, and being prepared shows everyone you have your s*** together and that you’re on top of your work.
Interning is a kind of grace period where you’re able to test the waters and learn as much as possible while preparing for a full-time position. Applying these intern insights to your position as an AC will help you transition into your new role and ultimately help you succeed throughout your career.