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The Public Relations Intern — A Future PR Superstar?

Don't wait for authority to tell you how to succeed.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

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What’s the tell-tale sign of a prom­ising pub­lic rela­tions intern?

Having worked in the PR industry since 2005, I’ve encountered the occa­sion­al pub­lic rela­tions intern who I instantly knew would go on to become a PR super­star one day.

Nowadays, I believe I can tell wheth­er or not a pub­lic rela­tions intern will become a force to be reckoned with in this business.

Here we go:

The Public Relations Intern — A Future PR Superstar?

Talent hits a tar­get no one else can hit. Genius hits a tar­get no one else can see.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer

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The Public Relations Intern — A Future PR Superstar?

How do you recog­nise a pub­lic rela­tions intern with PR super­star potential? 

After many years of recruit­ing tal­ent, I’ve learnt to spot the one tell-tale sign of the pub­lic rela­tions interns who will become a force to be reckoned with in the PR industry:

The secret = instead of ask­ing how exactly a spe­cif­ic task should be done, a pub­lic rela­tions intern with PR super­star poten­tial rarely asks for detailed instruc­tions simply because their heads are full of nov­el ideas and solu­tions to try.

Perhaps this sounds counter-intu­it­ive? Shouldn’t a pub­lic rela­tions intern be stun­ningly good at doing pre­cisely what they’re told — and noth­ing else?

Well, yes. But PR super­stars who star­ted as pub­lic rela­tions interns often wer­en’t the best interns around. A pub­lic rela­tions intern who prefers every solu­tion to be their own can even be a liab­il­ity — short-term.

Here’s why:

  • Insecure PR man­agers might get nervous when a pub­lic rela­tions intern pro­poses nov­el or uncon­ven­tion­al solu­tions to well-known problems. 
  • Resourcefulness and invent­ive­ness can come off as arrog­ant and naïve. When their solu­tions do work bet­ter, they might still be resisted. 
  • Bravery and youth­ful curi­os­ity can often be mis­taken for unwar­ran­ted con­fid­ence. It might be inter­preted as dis­respect for author­ity and experience.

The future PR super­star will often fail because they prefer doing things their way. But fre­quent fail­ure leads to faster growth — and a pub­lic rela­tions intern with pro­gress­ive ideas and nov­el inspir­a­tions will keep try­ing where oth­ers would have giv­en up a long time ago.

In short: They learn faster by think­ing for them­selves — and con­stant tri­al-by-error. The pub­lic rela­tions intern with future PR super­star qual­it­ies aren’t the easi­est to man­age, but they also nev­er stop trying.

Career Advice for Public Relations Interns

As a pub­lic rela­tions intern, ask your­self: Are you wait­ing for someone to tell you how to suc­ceed? Don’t. Instead, make sure that you are that per­son to yourself.

Learn more: The Public Relations Intern — A Future PR Superstar? 

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Advice for Public Relations Internships

If you want some­thing done, ask a busy per­son.”
— Marissa Kraxberger

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Advice for Public Relations Internships

I’ve com­piled a list of advice to max­im­ise your pub­lic rela­tions intern­ship and set your­self up for suc­cess. These tips will serve you well toward becom­ing a PR superstar:

  • Always carry a Moleskine every­where. A trusty note­book like a Moleskine is essen­tial for jot­ting down ideas, insights, and import­ant inform­a­tion on the go, ensur­ing you nev­er miss a valu­able thought or oppor­tun­ity for inspir­a­tion. Also, if a cli­ent or col­league tells you some­thing, show them respect by not­ing what they say.
  • Be a strong (and fast!) writer (of everything). Effective com­mu­nic­a­tion is at the heart of PR, mak­ing strong writ­ing skills indis­pens­able. Practice writ­ing press releases, pitches, blog posts, and oth­er PR mater­i­als with clar­ity, con­cise­ness, and cre­ativ­ity. Pay atten­tion to gram­mar, punc­tu­ation, and style, and strive to tail­or your writ­ing to dif­fer­ent audi­ences and plat­forms. 1Silfwer, J. (2011, February 11). Advice for Public Relations Entry-Level Jobs. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​n​s​-​e​n​t​r​y​-​l​e​v​e​l​-​j​o​bs/
  • Believe in your abil­ity to come up with bet­ter ideas and solu­tions. Trust your cre­ativ­ity and prob­lem-solv­ing skills to innov­ate and think out­side the box, always striv­ing to offer fresh per­spect­ives and solu­tions that drive res­ults and exceed expect­a­tions. When faced with obstacles or con­straints, think cre­at­ively and explore altern­at­ive solu­tions. Whether find­ing a last-minute ven­ue for a press con­fer­ence or adapt­ing to chan­ging cli­ent demands, your abil­ity to think on your feet will set you apart as a valu­able asset to your team. 2Silfwer, J. (2013, April 27). The Public Relations Intern — A Future PR Superstar? Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​n​s​-​i​n​t​e​rn/
  • You can always strive to be more pro­act­ive. Take ini­ti­at­ive and seek ways to con­trib­ute bey­ond your assigned tasks and respons­ib­il­it­ies. Volunteer for new pro­jects, offer to assist your col­leagues and look for oppor­tun­it­ies to add value to your team. By demon­strat­ing ini­ti­at­ive and a will­ing­ness to go above and bey­ond, you’ll pos­i­tion your­self as a pro­act­ive and indis­pens­able mem­ber of the PR team.
  • The Devil’s in the details. In pub­lic rela­tions, atten­tion to detail can make all the dif­fer­ence between suc­cess and fail­ure. Whether you’re proofread­ing a press release or schedul­ing media inter­views, accur­acy and pre­ci­sion are para­mount. Cultivate triple-check­ing your work and main­tain­ing metic­u­lous records to ensure noth­ing slips through the cracks.
  • Memorise a per­son­al elev­at­or pitch. Be pre­pared to intro­duce your­self in vari­ous pro­fes­sion­al set­tings. Your elev­at­or pitch should give the listen­ers your name, title, back­ground, how you con­trib­ute, and some­thing that will make you mem­or­able. As a pub­lic rela­tions intern, no one expects your life story, so keep it short and snappy.
  • Don’t let fear of fail­ure stop you from try­ing again and again. Public rela­tions can be fast-paced and demand­ing, requir­ing resi­li­ence and adapt­ab­il­ity to nav­ig­ate highs and lows. Embrace set­backs and chal­lenges as oppor­tun­it­ies for growth, and main­tain a pos­it­ive atti­tude even in adversity. By stay­ing resi­li­ent, you’ll weath­er the inev­it­able storms of PR with grace and resilience.
  • Always make sure to under­stand fully how money is being made. How exactly is the agency mak­ing money? How exactly are the agency’s cli­ents mak­ing their money? How can the agency make money from hav­ing you onboard? Understanding how money is being made at all times is nev­er a wasted effort.
  • Bring a story to work each day. There will be small talk around cof­fee machines daily. Don’t be bor­ing; make it a habit to bring a fresh and funny story from your life to work each day.

By embra­cing this advice, you’ll set your­self up for suc­cess and max­im­ise your pub­lic rela­tions intern­ship experience.

Learn more: Advice for Public Relations Internships

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Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: Free Internship PR Course

Free Internship PR Course - Doctor Spin - Public Relations Blog
Free Internship PR Course.
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Doctor Spin’s PR School: Free Internship PR Course

Get star­ted with this free Internship PR Course and learn essen­tial pub­lic rela­tions skills and con­cepts for future suc­cess in the PR industry.

Learn more: All Free PR Courses

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ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Silfwer, J. (2011, February 11). Advice for Public Relations Entry-Level Jobs. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​n​s​-​e​n​t​r​y​-​l​e​v​e​l​-​j​o​bs/
2 Silfwer, J. (2013, April 27). The Public Relations Intern — A Future PR Superstar? Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​n​s​-​i​n​t​e​rn/
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

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