By Kelly Brokaw
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose
You’ve just heard back from your employer. Congratulations, you got the internship! But not so fast. Before you step through those doors on the first day, there are a few things you’ll need to know in order to succeed during your first week — a few things that may help you become your team’s shining star.
1. Ask Questions, Even the Embarrassing Ones
As the saying goes, “There are no stupid questions.” During the first few days of your internship, take the time to grab coffee or lunch with your manager. He or she is your mentor and the person who always has your back.
Use this as an opportunity to get to know one another and to ask those “embarrassing” questions you know you’re dying to ask. While it might feel basic, some of the important things you need to know include:
- Does everyone bring their lunch or do you always eat out?
- What should I wear?
- Should I bring my personal computer?
- Do we use laptops or notebooks in meetings?
2. Be a Note-taking Ninja
You’ll not only gain a lot of information about clients and their industries during your first week, but you’ll also learn a lot about the agency. Needless to say, ALWAYS have a pen and notebook in hand. Whether you’re talking to your manager, meeting with your team or sitting in on a briefing, make sure to pay close attention to the discussion and get down all the important points. If you think you’ll remember every detail five minutes after your meeting, you won’t. Most of us have learned this the hard way…
3. Put a Smile on Your Face
This should go without saying, but in order to succeed at any job, you need to come to the office each day with a smile on your face. There will be moments during your internship that you might not be doing the most glamorous jobs — aka, the monotonous tasks of building out media lists or creating coverage reports. But the key is to stay positive and keep in mind that intern tasks are the building blocks of every campaign.
Bottom line? Remain positive and look approachable. Your co-workers will see you as team player and someone who is fun to be around. This won’t hurt when the time comes for the company to decide if they have a spot for you long term.
4. Go Above and Beyond
This may be a personal preference, but I would rather have too long of a to-do list with endless deadlines than sit at my desk, twiddling my thumbs. When you find yourself with no work to do, seek out tasks instead of waiting for a project to be dropped on your desk.
Whether you’re brainstorming story ideas or researching relevant industry trends, take your work one step further and make proactive suggestions. Your team will appreciate the initiative and remember you next time they need some help.
Before you know it, it’s 5:30 p.m. on Friday and you’ve officially survived the first week of your internship. Congratulations!
Now it’s time to head home for some much needed R&R. Enjoy your weekend and head back into the office on Monday ready to take on the week!
Additional tips for PR interns? Leave them in the comments below.