Recruiting and Hiring

August 9, 2012

So, You Think You Can Intern?

Anne Green

As our internships are coming to an end, it seemed like an appropriate moment to sit back, relax, and reflect on all we’ve accomplished here at CooperKatz. Let’s see… We’ve had the opportunity to pitch and even secure top tier media opportunities, participate in a number of company brainstorming sessions, create master media lists, listen in on conference calls, help write byline articles and press releases and attend the company picnic and the Council of PR Firms 2012 Internfest – all while collectively supporting nine accounts. Whew!

After spending the summer at such an amazing PR firm, we wanted to impart some words of wisdom for the next group of interns! So here are our top 10 tips for thriving as an intern at CK.

 

As our internships are coming to an end, it seemed like an appropriate moment to sit back, relax and reflect on all we’ve accomplished here at CooperKatz.

Let’s see… We’ve had the opportunity to pitch and even secure top tier media opportunities, participate in a number of company brainstorming sessions, create master media lists, listen in on conference calls, help write byline articles and press releases and attend the company picnic and the Council of PR Firms 2012 Internfest – all while collectively supporting nine accounts. Whew!

After spending the summer at such an amazing PR firm, we wanted to impart some words of wisdom for the next group of interns! So here are our top 10 tips for thriving as an intern at CK:

1. PR is Like a Box of Chocolates
You never know what type of client you’re going to get. But here at CK, there’s never a dull moment and there’s never a dull client. We’ve learned that the key to turning every account into a ‘lean mean media-attracting machine’ is by opening your eyes and mind. When you approach every PR situation with a fresh perspective and willingness to learn, you’re bound to do brilliant work. And this makes the whole experience that much sweeter.
 
2. Brilliance Starts with Resilience
If you’re pitching…and pitching…and pitching…and all you’re hearing are crickets, don’t give up! Remember, hard work pays off. And media interest can (and probably will) pop up when you least expect it. So continue to fine tune your story and outreach – but keep on pitching on!
 
3. There’s Life Outside the Cube
No one likes an intern who sits at a desk plugging numbers into Excel all day, every day. Part of working hard is making the effort to get to know your colleagues, and letting them get to know you. Plus, CK is an agency of about 30 people so if you don’t find a way to spend some time with everyone…then ‘Houston, we have a problem’!
 
4. Own It
We are all human (except Ralph and Andy, who are some sort of hybrid super-human combo), so if you make a mistake – it’s okay. Show your team how stellar you are by being accountable for all that you do: the good and the bad. You’ll earn respect from those you work with just by being honest.
 
5. Leverage Your Experience
We all come from different walks of life, backgrounds, majors, experiences, etc. But the fantastic thing about PR is that it’s all around us. You don’t need any formal training to be intellectually curious. A successful generalist firm engages in everything from insurance to consumer sporting goods to higher education. You may not think you have the tools in your kit, but the truth is, just being a well-rounded person will prepare you for a successful future in communications.
 
6. Be a Sponge THEN a Boomerang
Soak it all in then bounce back with ideas. There is nothing more impressive than being able to show off what you’re learning in everyday conversation. Listen closely and you’ll be able to explain embargo pitching, press clipping and media training in NO time!
 
7. Perception is Key
How your colleagues perceive you is essential. There’s nothing wrong with asking for feedback every now and then (it shows that you are taking initiative). Plus, it’s important to keep tabs on how you’re doing throughout your internship and gain advice in order to improve yourself. After all, adaptability and flexibility are the skills that will pay the bills.
 
8. Give Kudos or More Specifically, CKudos
Whether a fellow coworker is assisting you on a project or simply helping you get on your feet – saying a little ‘thank you’ can go a long way. After all, it’s the ‘little things’ that contribute to our day-to-day success. CK has implemented a system to publicly give thanks called CKudos – where co-workers hand out Kudos candy bars as thank-yous during company meetings. This way the little things don’t go unnoticed.
 
9. Leave a Hole in CK’s Heart
Okay that may be a little over-dramatic, but it’s important to leave a desk behind that can’t be filled. How? By doing all of the above and more. PR can sometimes be stressful (In 2011, CNBC ranked public relations execs as the second most stressful job–right behind commercial airline pilots). So make those with whom you work grateful to have you in the office, to make their lives a little easier. And that way you’ll be sure they’ll miss you when you’re gone!
 
10. Every Little Thing is Gonna be Alright
Your time as an intern is really short, so ENJOY IT! Don’t sweat the small stuff or stress about life three years from now. You never know where you’re going to end up so live in the moment and believe in yourself. Our friend Dr. Seuss said it best:
 
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)”
 
 
Meet the Summer 2012 Interns:
 
Alexa Agugliaro will be entering her senior year at Penn State University this fall. She will graduate in December with a degree in advertising/public relations and a minor in psychology. The perfect day for this born and bred New Yorker involves a jet ski, the sun and a lemon Snapple.
 
Katie Roberts will be entering her senior year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She will graduate in May with a degree in creative-advertising and a minor in fashion-media. The perfect day for this California native involves a beach, Mumford & Sons on repeat and a fedora.

 


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