I’m writing this blog post sitting in Firefly UK’s new(ish) office just off Oxford Street. My view is the world famous BT tower as it stands proudly; surrounded by sturdy Victorian buildings and the sounds I hear are those of the fast paced world of PR … I’m glad to be a part of it!
I must have looked like a headless chicken when I first started here almost two months ago. Although I knew what PR was on an academic level (because I had read my textbooks, like the excellent student I am) my knowledge of how a PR firm operates was limited.
The Firefly team have a great way of making interns feel useful straight away. Admittedly, this was scary at first but I’m learning something new every day and now my headless chicken days are few and far between.
So, if you are thinking of interning in a successful PR agency this summer, here are a few tips that might help you:
1. Have a routine:
If you’re a student and live close to your university (like me), you are probably used to a peaceful tube ride and then maybe a nice latte. In an agency, people rely on you, so live by the clock and learn to walk briskly into the office. It’s very good exercise and shows commitment.
2. Ask questions:
These can be pretty mundane questions but it’s better for you to ask a silly question before starting a task than getting the whole thing wrong and causing a fire or something equally terrible… ok, maybe a fire is a little extreme, but you get my point.
3. Don’t be shy:
If they liked you enough to give you the internship, they like you enough to chat around the water cooler. At Firefly, we chat around green tea (you can still be cool and keep your cholesterol down). PR firms don’t want stiff, one dimensional people; they want interesting people with interesting ideas who are good at the art of conversation, so talk to your team and get to know them.
4. Use social media as much as you can:
Firefly is all about digital so obviously we tweet, are on LinkedIn and Facebook etc. Even if your PR firm isn’t interested in the digital world, everyone starting out in PR must have Twitter! It’s a way to get a sense of what journalists are after and helps you identify opportunities for clients. It’s a must right now. Feel free to follow me @tweetbugPR.
5. Dress well:
Ok, I am writing this blog in a pair of skinny jeans, converse and T-shirt from Topman but cut me some slack jack; it’s been pretty warm recently! When the weather is less harsh,wear a smart shirt. If you wear a smart shirt people may look at you and say ‘hey, that guy is wearing a smart shirt’ and it will be a good day (plus it’s professional).
So there you have my five tips on how to be the type of intern that a PR firm is happy to see in the morning. I’m sure one day many of you will be at the top of the PR ladder and busy running to meetings, events and lunches, and when that day happens, you may need a trusted intern to help you out. Be the intern that you will want to hire one day.