If you happen to follow my Instagram account, you’ll know I’ve been spending a lot of time in London recently. This is because I have just finished a PR internship with the lovely London team at Cool Blue Brand Communications, a marketing agency specialising in PR, digital, social media and design. I’ve always been open to the idea of pursuing a career in PR, and although my goal is to work branding and design, it is definitely something I am interested in and with the industry being how it is, it’s always useful to have skills in different areas.
Thinking I would also be with the design team, my heart sank a little when they explained that the creative aspects of the business all take place in their Newcastle office, but once I had my head around their clients and a cup of tea in hand I was eager to start learning the PR ropes.
Unfortunately, I cannot post much about the clients and the jobs Cool Blue are working on but I can give you a few of my first impressions on working in public relations and interning for a media company.
Organisation is key.
Make sure you are prepared before you start, research your company so you don’t get thrown into the deep end as soon as you arrive. When you start to get given jobs and tasks to complete keep a diary or a notepad on your desk and make lists of what you need to do and things to remember, such as useful numbers, colleague’s names, etc.
You need to know what’s going on in the world.
If like me you are commuting or using public transport daily, pick up the free newspapers and magazines. Knowing what is currently in the news, what is on trend in the sector you are working on, consumer information and client coverage is all important to be aware of. This way you can join in on conversations and offer advice based on what you have read.
Coffee will be your best friend.
or tea… Being up early and ready for an almost 2-hour commute to London meant that coffee was necessary for me to get through my day. Most offices will supply hot drinks for you, which is a god send, because who has the money to buy a Starbucks daily when you’re interning for free? If you don’t have access to coffee and tea at work, make some at home and take a flask or a travel mug with you for the journey.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
You are there to learn and you may not get the opportunity to intern again so make the most of it while you are there. Chances are the people you’ll be working with will be happy to answer any queries you may have, or chat to you about what jobs they are working on. Don’t worry about asking silly questions, they don’t expect you to be an expert but the more involved you become the more opportunities you will be given.
Be willing and happy to do anything they ask (within reason).
We all know an intern is just there to make tea and photocopying, right? This is partly true as you will be expected to run to the post office or complete a few tedious jobs, but do it with a smile and show you are committed. Once you have shown you can complete simple jobs you’ll soon be trusted to undertake important tasks and assist with more than just basic admin. Although if this is what you are being asked to do every day and you don’t feel like you are getting anything out of the internship it’s probably best to speak to your supervisor and show your interest in a particular aspect of the company you’re with.
Socialise and network with your colleagues.
This is probably the most valuable part of your internship, networking and getting yourself out there. Particularly with the fast pace of the Creative Industries, having contacts already working in the industry will be just as valuable as the degree itself. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, this is the best way to network with the people you meet while out on placement.
Those are just a few of my top tips for undertaking an internship in PR, or being an intern in general. I hope they help anyone that is thinking about, or preparing for an industry placement! Most of all enjoy yourself but if you realise you’re doing something you don’t like then take the experience to understand this is not a career route you want to follow. Then you can focus your studies/ future experiences on something else, just remember all experience is good experience.
*All opinions expressed are my own*