By: Danita Tatum
I recently completed my very first internship. I interned at United Way of Washtenaw County. It was stressful, but I learned a lot. I feel like going into my internship, I thought I’d be making copies and getting people coffee.
That was not the case. I wrote press releases, conducted interviews, designed fliers and so much more. There is no doubt in my mind that my internship prepared me for a career in PR. With all that being said, here are two things that I think really enhanced my internship experience.
1. Discussing what I was interested in learning.
At the beginning of my internship, I sat down with my supervisor and discussed my interests. Although everything I did wasn’t related to my interests, the majority of my work was based on what I told her I was interested in. I think that talking about what I was interested in doing really helped my supervisor give me relevant projects and it also helped me develop the skills that I thought were important. If you’re interested in very specific aspects of PR, then make sure your supervisors knows what your interests are so that you can develop skills in those areas as well.
2. Giving project suggestions.
At some point during my internship, there was a lull in projects, so I came up with my own. Coming up with a project made me look good and I worked really hard. The project really helped me gain experience pitching stories to bloggers. Instead of constantly looking to your supervisor for your next project, come up with a few ideas of your own. If you think something could be helpful for an organization, talk about it with your supervisor. It could lead to something great, such as media coverage, free promotion or just gaining experience doing something new.
Danita Tatum is a senior in the public relations program.