Help me, help you

19 Jun

-Intern and Employer Relationships

Now more than ever, internships are increasingly important for landing that first job. It is crucial that interns seek out relevant employment opportunities to help them achieve career goals. Getting started at an internship can be quite an adjustment, especially if you have never had one before. As a previous intern, I am going to offer my advice for starting your internship off on the right foot. Followed 10 tips on how employers can effectively work with and utilize their (PR) interns based on their skills and qualifications.

131416Before beginning your internship, it is important to have an idea of what you want to get out of it. What work are you looking to do and what value can you add to the company? When you begin your internship it is important to have an elevator pitch. We often hear about using these at networking events but I feel this is essential when meeting new people at the company. Not that you have to sell yourself once you have been hired, but so people can gauge your interests and career goals. Take a look at this excellent article from Examiner.com on getting your elevator pitch ready, there is even a contest to enter! Going out of your way to introduce yourself to everyone shows your eagerness to learn from every single talented individual and your sincere interest in getting to know each and every person. Remember, first impressions are crucial!

Once you have been introduced, sit down with your supervisor and develop a communications plan between the two of you. What are the expectations? Decide the best means of communicating, how you will receive your weekly projects, the general format for all work and what types of updates you want to receive from one another. Weekly project lists with specified deadlines are a great way to stay focused and organized; in PR we cannot afford to miss any deadlines. Keep your supervisor and co-workers up to date on the status of your work at all time, especially if projects roll over from one week to the next. After that, work together and come up with a list of personal goals you have for the internship. It is imperative to go back and check these ever so often to make sure you are on track. Dive in, and don’t be scared. You cannot exceed if you never try!

Finally, here are some simple suggestions to make sure employers are effectively utilizing their interns:

  1. Know your new intern- everyone should receive a copy of their resume so familiarize yourself past experiences and background information.
  2. Based on your personal job description, find what areas you need the most help with and make a note of it- this is where your intern comes in.
  3. Plan to individually meet with the intern and discuss your daily responsibilities and what role they have in assisting you.
  4. Leave your apprehensiveness at the door- if you never give the intern a chance then how will they ever learn.
  5. Begin with research projects and be sure they understand the importance of thorough research, no cutting corners here!
  6. Let them sit in on phone calls or meetings, especially with clients. This will help them understand the importance of relationships and how you interact with your clients.
  7. Expose them to writing, anything and everything helps. I have learned you can never do too much writing particularly since we have the opportunity to write in so many different styles. Have them take a stab at a pitch, byline or case study. There is no harm in letting them develop rough drafts.
  8. If there any changes, comments or suggestions on work they have submitted, meet with them and explain why something is the way it is- don’t just change it and send it back to them.
  9. Help them improve on their weaknesses- give them something forcing them to step out of their comfort zone!
  10. Believe in your intern, you would actually be surprised what they can teach you!

What other advice do you have? Please feel free to share!

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2 Responses to “Help me, help you”

  1. Tony Brown September 23, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Tony Brown

  2. Cyril Tepper February 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    A Rather easy that you follow input. Whenever someone said your blog post i see a different perspective . In addtition , being a noob developer, I want to say that the structure within your website is amazing. Thank you.

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