The intern life—some of you may have experienced/are experiencing it in one way or another. It is a learning experience that will continue to resonate regardless of the career you decide to pursue. I’m sure that some of you reading this may be in a similar position as me: student, anxious about career choices, trying to balance school, work and a social life whilst keeping designer eye bags heavily concealed with a smile on your face.
To understand why I am writing what I’m writing, let me give you a quick introduction:
My name is Via Dulay. I completed my undergraduate degree in Cinema and Media Studies at York University and am in my second semester at Centennial College for Corporate Communications and Public Relations. I have been working for Marigold for a few months, and it has been nothing but exceptional.
What have you learned from interning at Marigold?
Interning at Marigold has been an incredible experience. Whether you’re starting off, or are wondering what to expect in an internship specific to the PR field, everything that I have learned from the agency and in school can be summed up in 9 simple tips:
In no chronological order (because they are all important!):
Come in with a learning attitude
Internships can provide valuable lessons that school might not teach you. You can learn about the culture of your workplace, yourself, and advice that will stick with you throughout your years. As I move from being an intern, I will never stop being a sponge and will never stop soaking in what will help me grow.
Your bosses are there to guide you
Katie and Bridget have been incredible leaders and mentors to me; teaching me tricks of the trade and offering me advice, guidance and support where needed. They have given constructive feedback that has helped me improve my abilities to communicate to various outlets. As an intern, your supervisors are there to guide you and bring out the best in you. Never be afraid to ask questions—it gets you places and it shows that you are eager to learn just as much as they are eager to teach.
Never write anything that you wouldn’t want as a headline in the National Post
My professor had drilled this into my head. What I mean by this is that when replying to clients, sending out emails, or anything on-the-record for that matter, be professional about it. Proof everything, ask someone to edit your work, and always have online etiquette (that includes your personal social media). You never want anything coming back at you when you are looking to move forward with your career.
Like everything, life will get in the way
Be sure to keep open communication with your bosses. I learned the hard way when communicating with the team slipped through the cracks after a hectic week. It’s bad when you hold in your issues, but it’s worse when you miss a deadline or someone does the work that you already did because you failed to inform them. Always be verbal, and always ask for help when you need it.
You will question whether or not this is the right industry for you
I’ve had days when I would sit myself down and ask if this was the right field for me. In PR, you will not always walk out of the office at 5pm with a smile on your face, and it’s totally okay not to be okay. But consider your reason why you started in the first place, and always keep that close.
Paid internships are rare, but if opportunity knocks, take advantage of it.
Most internships are not paid, especially when you are still looking to build your profile in the industry. Fortunately, Marigold provides paid internships that help future PR pros learn the required skills while being compensated for their hard work.
Time management is critical to your success
Do not think that going without some sort of time management tool will get you to where you want to be. For me, purchasing a planner has helped me meet deadlines, stay sane, write down my goals, and more importantly, achieve them.
Build your networks
If you are a student like me, you have access to networking events like CPRS and IABC for networking events. If you don’t, there are plenty of opportunities to build your network. You just have to make the effort to look.
Another part of being a public relations practitioner is building relationships with journalists. Take the time to get to know the journalists that you are reaching out to and read their material so that you know when you contact them, and that a level of trust is built.
I know that asking questions might be a little intimidating, but in the PR industry, asking questions can help you achieve your goals faster. Asking questions proves that you want to take action, and that you are heading in the right direction towards achieving your objectives.
Interning can be a scary thing, but learning isn’t. Love the process, learn by doing, and you’ll achieve your PR goals before you know it.