PR internships: Are they worth it?

Posted on: August 10th, 2012

Have you ever thought about getting a PR internship, but have no idea where to start? This feeling consumed me for my first two years of uni. In many of my classes lecturers would constantly tell you that no matter how good your grades are if you want to be employable you must do an internship because no one will hire a student that has no work experience. While I am sure there are exceptions to this rule, these words of wisdom encouraged me to seek out an internship.

And so my journey began. Over my summer break I researched different PR agencies via their websites, to see if they had any intern positions available and what they would entail. Stellar* really appealed to me for numerous reasons: the Stellar* Stars intern program is really flexible offering either a full or part time option so I could work around my uni timetable; they work with some amazing brands and the opportunity that I could be a part of that was really exciting; and also the culture of the company as it looked really fun! I was fortunate enough to be accepted by Stellar* and I started in January 2011, working full time for three weeks.

Those first three weeks were a real eye opener for me. They taught me that an incredible amount of hard work goes into securing a piece of coverage or making an event look seamless and that PR is not just a 9-5 job, its constantly evolving and changing and is a very fast paced work environment. After my internship finished I was then given the opportunity to continue working one day a week which I was really keen to do.

Over the past 19 months I have gained so much hands-on practical experience that has provided me with a taste of what work life is really like, something that you never get taught in the classroom. I was exposed to many great brands such as BlueScope Steel, ghd, Dr. LeWinn’s, Cointreau and Taste of Sydney, and I was given the opportunity to work across a range of areas including events, copywriting  and social media –  an area I was particularly interested in. I was of course also involved in a range of admin tasks, but was also fortunate enough to be able to attend a number of media events and launches, where I met journalists and learnt how to network. A definite highlight for me!

The guidance, support and knowledge the Stellar* team has passed onto to me has been invaluable and has provided me with an incredible insight into the PR industry, but most of all it has taught me that this is the career that I want to pursue.

I undertook this internship while completing a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing communications at UTS. By completing both at the same time I was able to see the practical application of my degree and understand the reasoning behind all the theory I was taught. However, working at Stellar* provided me with practical experience that no university degree can provide.

This is my last week at Stellar* and I have loved every minute of my time here so these are my top five tips for getting the most out of an internship:

  1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there (as daunting as this may seem) – email companies, make contacts and give it your all.
  2. Undertake an internship while at uni – understand the correlation between the theory and industry work, it really helps.
  3. Enjoy working with some of the top PR gurus, pick their brains and understand what makes them tick.
  4. Immerse yourself – be confident and willing to take on any task that gets thrown at you. Some of the little things you have to do can make a huge impact to the end result.
  5. It’s a career stepping stone so make the most of the experience!

 

Undertaking a PR internship, while challenging at times, is the most worthwhile experience. The contacts you make, the opportunities you are given and the knowledge you gain will leave you feeling much more confident when you finish university.

Have you completed a really positive PR internship or are you looking for the right opportunity? Tell us what you think about internships.

Posted by Rosemary Miller

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