This is a guest post from Miriam Chumbley, account executive at Red Setter.
When I first joined Red Setter this past summer, I knew that an internship was the perfect way to kick-start my career in the PR industry, learning on the job from talented practitioners around me with years of experience under their belt.
With lockdowns and restrictions putting many opportunities at risk, securing a placement during a pandemic was a triumph in itself – so I’m doubly proud to have turned my internship into a full time, junior account executive role (and promoted to AE in the last week!).
While the learning is always ongoing for me, here are some ways to help you make the most out of an internship in PR.
Get stuck in
Starting at Red Setter in the summer of 2021, I was lucky to get to be physically in the office and to dive into live client projects from day one. From the get-go, my day-to-day involved direct facetime with clients, building relationships with key journalists and brainstorming with my team to arrive at the best ideas. My eyes were opened to a whole new world of agency PR, and I realised my ability to adapt to different tasks working across several projects at a time.
It’s simple, but the bottom line is to get as much experience as possible – seize every opportunity to contribute, and you’ll get as much out of it as you put in.
Use your voice
For a career in PR, communication is key – and this goes hand in hand with confidence. I learned early on that sharing my unique point of view as a newcomer could help my team test ideas. Don’t be afraid to speak up, share your opinions and challenge ways of doing things – your perspective will always be appreciated.
PR is also a people business: the relationships you build with your clients and the media are important, and those with your team are vital, too. Ask away and get to know their passions as much as possible – you’ll collaborate better, learn better and ultimately help to make sure you’re enjoying the work you’re doing!
While sharing your point of view is key, what’s equally important is being totally honest with yourself and your colleagues about where your blind spots are, and what you know you need and want to learn. Always ask people for help when you need it.
In an industry as rapid and reactive as PR, your team are there to share their expertise and guide you. We have a ‘no stupid questions’ rule across the company where I’m never scared to ask about something at the risk of feeling penalised for not knowing the answer.
Feed your passion
I studied modules in Graphic Design and Public Relations at university, so I really hit the jackpot with an internship at Red Setter – a PR agency for world-leading design studios.
Having a genuine passion for design was a crucial part of my interest and success in my role, and I think the same applies for any industry you want to be in. Find that thing that you find yourself doing outside of work, then channel that into your day-to-day to enrich your process and improve your output.
Don’t be scared of socials
LinkedIn can be an intimidating place, a constant stream of everyone else’s success. For employers, it’s a fundamental way to find out about who you are. So just as it plays an important role in getting you the internship in the first place, LinkedIn is also a huge resource for once you’re in it. Build your profile and keep active!
Apart from the obvious of monitoring your client’s social pages, it’s an important tool to connect with key journalists, industry figures and follow key publications and hashtags as a quick and easy way to keep up-to-date with the latest news.
Make time for you
It’s easy to get swept up in the momentum of PR and start to blur the boundaries of work-life balance when you’re trying to prove your worth in a new role. Taking care of you is crucial for your wellbeing and will help you be better at work as a result. Find your go-to for completely switching off and re-energising for the next day or week ahead. For me, that’s yoga class at home with Adriene or BODYCOMBAT at my local fitness studio. Getting moving is a great way to let off steam when your day hasn’t gone quite right, and there’s nothing like a downward dog to get the creative juices flowing or throwing some boxing punches to release built-up tension from a busy day!
Believe in your team – and yourself
Heading into the world of work isn’t going to be perfect, there’s always going to be the pressure and nerves that come with this big step. Hopefully these tips will make the step a little easier, and remind you that you aren’t alone, so you can focus on doing your best. Relish in the creative energy of those around you and above all believe in yourself – you never know where an internship could lead you.
For more insight into the day-to-day of a career in PR, read this guest post from Prezzybox Alex Spencer, who offers a whole week’s-worth of wisdom.