By Emily Scher
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose
Prior to my internship with The Hoffman Agency, I had no immediate experience working in tech, or in a PR agency at all for that matter. I was a soon-to-be graduate with a degree in public relations from the University of Oregon. I also grew up surrounded by the Silicon Valley tech scene and had a strong interest for media and writing, so why not give it a shot?
After only a few days at Hoffman, I realized that even a PR-focused degree had not prepared me for the full-on agency experience. Of course, my college education helped me to be smarter and gave me time management skills and writing abilities, but I was surprised to learn that an education doesn’t necessarily prepare you for what’s to come in the working world. This is especially true in PR — where no two days are ever the same.
Now, with a PR internship under my belt and a promising future at Hoffman, I’d like to share a few survival skills that helped me during the initial intern jitters.
Have an open mind and a desire to learn
No experience? No problem. I came into my internship at The Hoffman Agency with zero agency or tech experience. As long as you have a desire to learn and engage, I can almost promise you you’ll be successful. Everyone wants to help you during your learning process, and they want to see you succeed
Also, leaving the college years behind doesn’t mean your education stops there. Learn from every experience you have, and walk away with new skills and insight from every task you complete. Don’t take any of your new experiences for granted. Try a little bit of everything to discover specific things you enjoy.
Connect with a mentor
Find someone you’re comfortable with going to for questions. If you’re uncomfortable asking questions in a big meeting, wait and ask someone afterwards — whether that person is your manager, someone on your account team or the person in the cubicle next to you. Personally, my manager has been my lifesaver, and I go to her with any and all questions I have, and I keep her updated on all of my assignments.
Also, speak up when you have too much on your plate or you’re working under deadlines that are too tight! Your manager is there to help you prioritize and make sure you’re not overloaded.
Avoid trial and error
Following up on the last point, be proactive and constantly ask questions! Ask details of the assignments you’re tasked with, admit when you’re unsure about directions, ask what role specific assignments play. The more questions you ask initially means less work in the future and fewer corrections from your coworkers.
In addition, write everything down! Bring your laptop or notebook to every meeting. Become best friends with your to-do list; it’ll save you on a daily basis.
Look at the big picture
You may not love every assignment you’re given, but keep in mind that no media list is too small. Every minute task serves a greater purpose. Your job matters, and every minor part is essential to the finished product.
Be confident in your abilities
They hired you for a reason. You believed in yourself enough to apply for the job in the first place, and they believed in you enough to hire you. So be confident in your skills, and give it all you got.
Last, but definitely not least. There’s no explanation needed.
Scher joined the Hoffman Agency San Jose team as an account coordinator in early September.