15 internship tips & tricks for the summer

By Marisa Dockum

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Being an intern can offer a wealth of knowledge and lead to lasting relationships, and if you’re lucky, a future job.  As a trainee at Edelman, with 50 other interns, I have sneaked a few tips and tricks up my sleeve to stay on top of my game and make a lasting impression.

1. Dress appropriately for anything and everything.

In the PR world, your daily tasks change every day and vary drastically. One moment you could be wiping off chairs before a client meeting or packaging and shipping products to bloggers. Then the next minute you’re in a formal brainstorming meeting with client executives. Either way, you must be dressed with the flexibility of doing physical or official activities.

2. Arrive early, stay late.

Coming into the office 30 minutes before expected, and staying until all jobs are complete to expectation, shows that you are dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. This will earn major brownie points.

3. Catch up on the news every morning.

Reading the news and staying up-to-date on the world can help increase your creativity and knowledge about the public relations industry. It will also give you a competitive edge by knowing what client competitors are up to.

4. Do your homework before you start.

You want to walk into the office with a general understanding of what your account has worked on in the past, and what it is currently working on. Trust me, you will be grateful if you’re already caught up on your accounts doings before you are thrown into it and no one has time to thoroughly explain things to you.

5. Gain trust early on.

Do your best on small, early assignments. Once you prove that you produce good work, your supervisor will start giving you the more “fun” projects.  Don’t expect to get free reign right off the bat. Trust must be earned.

6. Ask for feedback.

The best way to learn and grow is from feedback. Always ask how you did, and what you can do to improve.

7. Learn from your co-workers’ mistakes.

It’s OK to make mistakes, everyone does. But, if you can learn from other’s mistakes it will save YOU from unwanted embarrassment and anxiety.

8. Mirror your supervisor’s actions.

To get into the groove of your company culture, mirror how your supervisor writes emails, talks on the phone and interacts with other employees. Remember to still be yourself!

 9. Don’t present the problem, present the solution.

If you encounter a problem, tell your supervisor only after you come up with the solution.  You can say, “Hey, this happened but here is how we can fix it.” This will take a load of their shoulders while making you look good.

10. Set personal goals and share them with your supervisor.

You get out what you put in. If you know what you want to come out of your experience, write them down and communicate them to the people around you. Both sides will work toward your goals and you’ll be satisfied when your objectives are completed on time. 

11. Keep track of all you do.

It’s important to archive all your work for personal reference and future interviews. Save and compile your work so you have a clear understanding of your contributions and hard work.

12. Network.

A plethora of talented professionals are right at your fingertips within the agency or company you are interning for. The more people you meet for coffee, the better. You are there to learn from them, so do it! 

13. Always smile, never whine.

Attitude is everything, and it separates the weak from the strong.  Conquer every task with a positive attitude, no matter how frustrated you may be on the inside.

14. Carry a notepad with you at all times.

You could be walking back from the bathroom, and an AE could walk by and rattle of an assignment to you. You’ll want a notepad handy to write down all the details.

15. Bring snacks and thank you cards on your last day.

Who doesn’t love yummy snacks and thank you cards? Showing your gratitude and appreciation will leave a lasting impression, and will be remembered if you reapply for a full-time position in the future. 

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