This summer I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work as a Public Relations intern in New York City. The company I worked for wasn’t some huge, brand name company that people would automatically be dying to work for, but instead was a new company that specialized in Italian suits, and was trying to make a name for itself. Walking in on my first day I remember talking to my boss and making him believe that I was completely confident in my abilities when secretly, all I was thinking was “Oh God, do I even know what I’m doing?” However, although I initially questioned myself, being an intern this summer helped me gain an immense amount of experience and knowledge that I wasn’t expecting to gain.
1. Step Out of the Comfort Zone
Pushing myself out of my comfort zone was terrifying, but ultimately beneficial. It helped me try new things that I wouldn’t ordinarily volunteer for, and in doing so eventually made me more confident in my abilities. I think most people, including myself, hold themselves back because they’re afraid they’ll “mess up” but something I took away from my experience is that you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t try something new. Bottom line, you’re an intern! No one expects you to be an expert, but people do expect that as an intern you at least show an interest in the company you are working for. The best way of showing interest is getting involved and trying things regardless of whether you think you’ll be good or not.
2. Research is your Best Friend
Knowing about a company through its website is a given, but really acquiring an understanding of what a company does is impressive. It shows people who work for that same company that you’re serious about what you do and that you’re not just the intern that comes in everyday waiting for the lunch break. In being a part of a company that specializes in Italian suits I can honestly say I know more about men’s formal wear than I care to, but that knowledge has been essential in me doing a better job. In order to do a better job writing a press release or a blog piece for the company I interned for I needed to sound like I knew what I was talking about. I needed to learn the jargon and become a professional in men’s suits so that when people read what I wrote they would think that I was someone who had worked with men’s fashion before. It was the in depth research that not only allowed me to do a better job, but helped me gain the respect of my superiors who noted my effort.
3. Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
A lot of times because I had a nice espresso in the morning, work that was assigned to me got done a lot quicker than anticipated. I felt a little unprofessional bothering my boss with questions like “well, what should I do next?” so I started taking matters into my own hands, and working on side projects that I thought could benefit the company. I think that doing something like this is a good way to prove that even though you have free time you’re dedicated to your work, and aren’t taking your internship opportunity for granted.
Ultimately, internships are stepping stones that, if given the chance, can truly teach you amazing lessons about the characteristics important in the work place.
Written by: Stephanie Pinilla
Stephanie Pinilla is a senior Psychology and Interpersonal Communications double major, working toward a Women’s Studies minor. She is currently a Public Relations intern in New York and a general member of PRSSA-UD that is constantly active on social media. Follow her on Twitter, @lilpinil.