SHIFT Intern 101: Our advice to the next class of interns

By Megan Donelan (@mwd211) and Jenna Glynn (@JennaGlynn)

Having spent the past Summer interning at SHIFT Communications with some of the coolest people in PR, we have a few pieces of advice we would like to share with the next “class” on how to get the most out of their internship experience…

Be confident.

You landed this internship for a reason, so be confident that you can do the job! Own your work. Have an idea during a brainstorm? – speak up! Volunteer yourself for a project or assignment even if you’re not quite sure what to do. At first you may be uncomfortable coming forward, but it’s always better to be recognized or looped in, than be passed by for another person more willing to take on the opportunity.

Look at others around you as a resource.

SHIFTers are smart, friendly and fun – use them!  Whether it is a fellow intern or an Account Manager, pick their brains about the industry, ask them questions about project management and account teams, and request feedback on your own work.  You are only hurting yourself by not reaching out to and learning from the people around you.

Don’t be timid.  Ask questions.

Sometimes it’s hard to judge how persistent you should be when trying to get project work from your supervisors. Keep asking! Do you need anything else? Can I help you with a new project, or some new business research? Why did you change this to this? Don’t be afraid that you may come off as annoying because the alternative (doing something wrong, or handing in something incomplete) is worse. Your project leads will appreciate that you are being proactive and thoughtful, and moreover, making sure the job gets done.

Get connected and stay connected.

This is SHIFT Communications, so keep on communicating with your colleagues! Start a blog, join Twitter or LinkedIn, and become Facebook friends (if comfortable :)) with your colleagues. Engage with them now, and build lasting relationships online and offline. Keep in touch with the people who guided you when you were starting out and remember those who sat beside you during your orientation; chances are in 10 years these people will be leading the industry (assuming they’re not already!). Even if PR is not your chosen path after college, the relationships you’ve formed while at your internship can be of help to you as you navigate interviews, provide references and look for seasoned professionals for advice on what to do next!

From SHIFT Staff:  Thanks to all of the fabulous Summer interns for your help!

1 Response to “SHIFT Intern 101: Our advice to the next class of interns”

  1. 1 Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA August 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    It is always a pleasure to read, from the student’s perspective, an internship after-action report. This one, chock-a-block full of excellent pointers, advice, and lessons learned, is one of the best I’ve read yet.

    Kudos to my friends at SHIFT Communications for running a superb internship program from which students and (I suspect) permanent team members come away with a boatload of great knowledge and experience.

    Thanks for sharing, as always!

    Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA
    Associate Professor of Communication, Curry College

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