It’s hard to believe our fall semester interns will soon be fully immersed in our culture and their first major projects. Just a little over five years ago, I was in their shoes – wide-eyed and ready to take on any challenge thrown my way. So as I reflect on that summer; what tips would I have given myself knowing what I know now?
Start Building Your Network: An impressive number of our incoming, current and previous interns are or were heavily involved in campus groups and associations. Use LinkedIn and your school’s Alumni network to find marketing or PR professionals and ask them to lunch. Purple and Gold Alumni (Go Dukes!) tend to look out for each other. The worst anyone can say is “no.”
During the first year of my career, I truly learned how far buying a cup of coffee can go. I met my professional mentor and some of my favorite media contacts by making relationship building a priority.
Small Contributions are Important: Hours spent on Cision or Vocus or any other media software is not just an exercise – it’s a part of every PR team members daily routine at MG. Researching hundreds of national events for a new business pitch is not just an exercise – it’s a part of every PR team members life at MG. See what I’m getting at?
When you are engrained in one project or task, it’s hard to see how it helps achieve big picture objectives. Research is not busy work; it assists with building a foundation and is an essential step for creating and executing a strategic plan. When you get to see your first event come to life, or your pitch transformed into an article on the pages of a national magazine, trust me, the work is so worth it!
Know the News: Read the paper (even if you are just skimming), check news websites and blogs daily, listen to Podcasts during your commute. Although it wasn’t around when I was an intern, subscribe to theSkimm – you’ll thank me later!
Keeping up with the news will not only make you the expert among your friends, but a valuable resource to keep your boss and clients up-to-date on industry news and trends.
In my current role, I leverage my communications background to support multiple campaigns and progress media relations for our accounts. I found my home at Meridian Group after a summer internship where my career foundation began. I learned the importance of hard work, a positive attitude and found a passion for PR that grows every day.