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Summer Stories: The 15 Commandments for a Successful Internship

Brittany spent her summer interning with Himmelrich PR and learned a LOT. Here is her must-follow guide to success.

Ending the day with my fellow PR fanatics! Image courtesy of Steve Himmelrich/Owner of Himmelrich PR

This past week was the end of my summer internship at Himmelrich PR. We all know that completing internships in college can help us prepare for the real world of working. It gives us a chance to really experience what it’s like to work in our fields and it’s a great opportunity to connect with professionals who’ve been in the industry for quite some time. The key to interning is making sure that you make it worth your while.

My six week long agency experience has taught me a lot and I am very lucky to have been a part of a great group of public relations fanatics. I’ve gotten practice with writing press releases, calendar listings, and social media content. I’ve conducted online research, provided ideas in meetings, and went on “field trips” to learn how other firms work. I’ve even met with potential clients and listened in on important phone calls. I was constantly being offered opportunities to get involved and there was never a moment when I didn’t feel like a part of the team.

During the day of my interview, I remember being told that I would not be looked at as just another intern and that turned out to be true. Not only has this experience prepared me for the future, but I’ve learned exactly what it takes to do PR.

It’s hard to say goodbye, but I’d like to share a list of rules I learned that can be applied to almost any type of internship.

1. Always offer to do more than what you are assigned.

2. Don’t be late for meetings or assignment deadlines.

3. Say good morning and communicate with everyone at the workplace every day.

4. If you are not clear on something, ask questions to gain understanding and clarity.

5. Be creative and be ready to suggest new ideas of your own.

6. Be alert during discussions and get in on the conversation.

7. Be prepared to do light administrative work, such as answering the phone or filing.

8. Say yes to going on field trips, doing special projects, and attending meetings.

9. Don’t shy away from spending time conducting research at home for a project.

10. Heard of some interesting news? Share it by starting a discussion when appropriate.

11. Understand that you will make mistakes and when you do, own up to them.

12. Be familiar with the backgrounds of each person in the workplace.

13. Be sociable by having lunch with your co-workers.

14. Always take notes and pay attention to everything around you.

15. Have a voice of your own and find ways to be memorable in a good way.

Although my PR internship has to come to an end, that does not mean I will not continue my journey to gaining as much experience as I possibly can. Next, I’ll be interning this fall in the Consumer and Physician Outreach Marketing and Communications Department of Johns Hopkins Hospital and I’ve even decided to apply to the January 2013 study abroad program for corporate communications in the UK.

Let the games begin.

Want to contact Brittany? Follow her on Twitter at @btiara3 

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