Four Lessons Every Student Should Learn Before Starting an Internship at a PR Agency

After completing a two-month internship at a multinational PR agency, I walked away with insight into a multitude of essential agency skills. From media relations to plan development, the agency experience is how I imagined it: fast-paced and exciting. To popular belief, yes, you may have the opportunity to pitch media, write multiple press releases, monitor media, dabble in research and help out with various steps of a project.

The learning curve is steep in agency life and the steps to excel in those skills will come over time - experience I hope to gain more of. For those who are looking to prepare for a similar opportunity, I’ve summed up my experience into four key takeaways to help you get the most out of your internship:

Take initiative

  • Be open to opportunities when they’re given to you, or volunteer to be a part of a project if you think it’s interesting. Make the most of your internship. 
  • At team meetings, it’s your time to shine. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion on different projects or issues. It shows you’re aware and genuinely care about the company you’re a part of.

Manage your time wisely

  • Prioritize by confirming deadlines and the time required to complete assignments. Plan your day by carving out time work on projects. In one day, you may juggle multiple activities.
  • Be aware of the internal review process. You may have time to finish everything at your own pace, but don’t forget that your work has to be reviewed internally before it gets submitted to the client.

Be professional

  • Be respectful of your colleagues’ time. Know that your colleagues are also working on multiple projects and be appreciative of the time they spend to review your work. Always express gratitude, be understanding, and maintain your integrity.
  • Represent your organization and client in a professional manner. You will make calls to external parties. It’s important to build a successful relationship.

Be adaptable

  • Be ready to support at any given time. There will be periods when there is a lot on the go. You may be asked to jump in to support without prior notice. Make sure you’re planning your day so you can accommodate for sudden changes.
  • Be flexible. You’re working with a wide range of clients from different industries. Be it social media or traditional media; always be prepared for a completely different experience. 

Lesley Yuen is a graduate of the SFU Communications program and did her PR Internship at Weber Shandwick CanadaTo connect with Lesley, visit her on Linkedin.