From the Intern's Desk: My Introduction into PR

By Maya Hutchinson, Intern at LCI

headshotAs my first year of college came to a close, the staggering reality of life beyond schoolwork and social events was staring me in the face. Having completed my first year at the University of Washington in Seattle Reputation Defender , I completed one class for my major (communications) and gained little knowledge of what working in the PR industry meant and required. I soon realized that pursuing an internship might be the best ticket to learning about the industry.

I desired a hands-on learning experience from the get go, to be immersed in the industry and to have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best. And, boy, did I get just that.

As Landis Communications (LCI) selected me as their youngest-ever intern, I was given the valuable opportunity to embrace the fast-paced, buzzing excitement of an agency’s day-to-day efforts.

Settling in to my position would be an ongoing learning process throughout my three months at LCI. Above all, it became clear that my hand was not going to be held by anyone throughout this internship. It required independence, enthusiasm and, for the lack of a better word, practice through trial and error.

Although this may sound like an intimidating way to learn the ins and outs of a business, I think the hands-on experience was brilliant and I would not have had it any different way. LCI allowed me to learn, take risks and contribute. After reflecting on my experience, I’ve summed up the four most important lessons I took away from my internship:

  1. Never accept constructive criticism as defeat. When starting out in this profession and working with seasoned PR pros, your first drafts will receive edit after edit and you will make mistakes. Take your supervisor’s suggestions. Learn from them, ask about them and expand off of them.
  2. When approaching a supervisor with a question or concern, bring a potential solution as well. This is possibly one of the simplest, yet most important, lessons I’ve learned throughout my time with multiple bosses who are often busy with multiple projects. Even if your solution is not endorsed, it will be appreciated and acknowledged.
  3. Use Google. Having never written a “pitch” before this internship and naturally determined to dazzle my colleagues, I had to write to impress. My saving grace? Google. Yes, I navigated writing my first pitch with these words: “How to write a media pitch.”
  4. Work does not only take place in the office. Read the newspaper, be active on social media and stay updated on current events. Whether you’re beginning your first internship or you’re a seasoned PR vet, working in PR means being an active part of the world around you.

What is your best tip for those wanting to get into PR? I’d like to hear from you. Send me an email to [email protected].

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8 Comments

  1. David Cumpston Reply

    Hi Maya,

    Thanks for the insightful tips that, in my opinion, can actually benefit people no matter what industry they’re looking to get into. I’ve always been a fan of constructive criticism and am glad to see you find value in it, as well. Keep up the good work and best of luck as you complete your college education and prepare to enter the work force full time!

    Regards,
    David

  2. Sean Reply

    Maya,

    Great set of advice/tips!

    Sean

  3. David Landis Reply

    Maya – so glad at your age you’ve already learned one of the workplace’s most important lessons (as far as I’m concerned): don’t bring problems to your supervisor, bring solutions! If you can master that, you will go far. PS, sorry but LCI actually had a younger intern many years ago: namely, my niece Jessica Landis, who interned with us while she was still in high school. Thanks for a terrific – and well written – post (from the uber grammarian!). Cheers, David

  4. Elena Fuhrmann Reply

    Maya,

    These are all great tips. Thanks for all your help this summer!

    Best,
    Elena

  5. Tyler Arnold Reply

    Maya, these are great tips! Thanks for sharing. It has been a pleasure working with you.

  6. Kristin Cockerham Reply

    Quality advice for PR pros at any level, not just for interns! Observe that everyone has different ways of writing and pitching, and some may tell you their way is the “right” way. My advice is first, write how your project managers tell you write. You may prefer your own style of writing, but trust the veterans… you’ll develop and prove your own style works in time. Second, think critically. Engage your brain cells. Quite often, this means… listen. Don’t stress about being the first person to speak up at a meeting with a brilliant answer. Absorb all the information you can from the people around you, whether they’re the “youngest intern” or seasoned PR pro.

  7. Natalie Petroni Reply

    Nice post Maya! These are all great tips – we’ve all enjoyed having you on the LCI team!

  8. Zach Spirer Reply

    Great post, Maya! Thank you for all of your hard work. You are spot-on about PR professionals immersing themselves in the world around them — there is always more to learn through both culture and media. Melding the two together is one of our main duties at LCI.