Behind the scenes of Interning
University is considered a valuable resource that helps us become better equipped and develops our skills for the professional world. However, my experience as both a student and intern has shown me that sometimes what you learn on the job cannot be taught in class. The label ‘intern’ tends to be stereotyped and associated with being at the bottom end of the pecking order – e.g. coffee runs. This is far from the truth. In reality, you are trusted with challenging tasks that have value and impact for your team. Interning is an opportunity to find your strengths and weaknesses beyond your marks at University.
I would consider interning like a serious trial experience. There really is no limit to the different kinds of tasks you can try and there’s slightly less pressure when it’s your first time. Looking back, I wish I grasped this before entering this role. It can be daunting coming into a workplace with no experience, but that is the whole point of interning – to gain that experience. No amount of readings can prepare you for constant pitching, facing rejection and client-facing spreadsheets.
If there is one vital thing I have taken away from this experience, it’s that you need to acknowledge what you do and don’t already know. University provides you with all the theory and a basic skill sets to allow you to just coast through, but it is up to the individual to want more. As an intern, you’re expected to ask questions, to need guidance on certain things, and to be inquisitive.
My time at InsideOut PR has been nothing but encouraging. I do acknowledge that I’ve been lucky enough to work in such an inviting, positive and informative space. Having a welcoming workspace is also key to giving you the confidence to explore other elements of PR and be inquisitive. With this flexibility, however, comes an element of responsibility and self-reflection. It’s important to know what skills are your strengths, and those that perhaps need improvement. Although you are there to learn, you are also there to help your team. There then needs to be a balance of the two. Ensure you have moments of productivity, where you work alone, so you show your drive.
Ultimately, no tutor is going to show you how to search media databases, no lecturer will explain the best way to follow up on a pitch. Whilst University is a great foundation, there’s nothing more beneficial than going out there and finding your feet.
By Hannah Dening – Former Intern, InsideOut PR