By Nabila Faisal
The Hoffman Agency
I distinctly remember my first day as a public relations intern. I walked in the front door of The Hoffman Agency, and the first thing I saw was that everyone looked truly intent on their work. Most were busy typing away on their laptops, some were on their phones and the rest were engaging in discussions.
It made me wonder … what tasks do PR interns perform?
Sure, I had some idea about the industry, but it wasn’t entirely what I expected. I can’t speak for all communication students, but when I took the PR module in school, I thought PR was similar to advertising and marketing, and that the bulk of the workload was organizing events.
I was obviously wrong.
In the short time at my internship, I realized that PR is an industry where you pick up new skills as you work through each day. It’s not an easy path. In fact, it’s extremely challenging — but it’s rewarding when you see your work being recognized. While I might not be an expert in the field, let me share with you what I’ve learned so far:
Myth: Interns don’t do real work
“Interns will be bullied” and “You will be asked to make endless copies and morning coffee” were some of the other “warnings” I received before the start of my internship.
But my experience in The Hoffman Agency has proved to be entirely different. It has allowed me to feel like a valued member of the different account teams. Not only have I participated in brainstorms, discussions and client meetings, but I was also given the opportunity to attend media trainings with some of my highly experienced colleagues. The experience of being included in such important tasks has been nothing short of fulfilling.
Multitasking: E-mails, phone calls, meetings…
Notice the ellipsis? The list goes on and on. In an agency, where you have to serve the needs of different clients, you’ll realize that you are working with repeated interruptions and altering priorities. With that, you’ll be forced to multitask! That is why everyone in the industry takes a notebook with them wherever they go. There’ll be endless numbers of phone calls and emails when communicating with clients and the media. Sadly, we’re not endowed with a supersonic mind that captures all the important information — so a to-do list in a notebook is definitely the way to go!
Writing and more writing!
It is a known fact that writing skills are necessary in this field — just as with most fields of communication. But little do people know that those who work in PR tend to write more than they would expect! From crafting emails, to writing pitches and press releases, your writing skills show up in the work you do every single day. You will get lots of practice, and more often than not, your first draft of work may look completely different from the final version — but don’t be disheartened! You’ll eventually learn the ropes and be writing with little or no edits in no time.
My brief time in The Hoffman Agency has allowed me to experience the life of a public relations consultant. With the different challenges my PR internship has brought about, I learn something new every day (pardon the cliché). Be it crafting a succinct pitch for the business intelligence client, email etiquette or the importance of being proactive, I find myself growing day by day into a consummate PR professional.
Want to hear more? Read past installments of “Life As A HA Intern.”