This summer I landed my first internship at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, and quickly picked some more informal lessons about interning in the Public Relations field.
Here are five lessons I learned:
1. Learn Excel. One thing that I was unaware of in PR was a reliance on spreadsheets. The most work I had done with Excel was simply look and read – clearly not enough. Instead of sitting at your desk staring at the hundreds of media contacts that need to be condensed into tiny “cells”, sign up for a tutorial class, or simply watch how-to videos on YouTube. You can also ask your supervisor to show you the tricks and tips themselves. However, if you do a personal tutorial BEFORE your assigned an excel related task, your supervisor will be a lot more impressed.
2. Always Ask To Do More Than You’re Told. Sure, it’s easy to complete a task that your boss tells you to do, but what will impress your employer even more is your willingness to go above and beyond. Do not be afraid of sounding too persistent if you ask to do more. Asking to contribute more was how I had some of the best experiences at my internship. Each day, I would go into the office and do any task, whether it was editing a press release, putting together T-shirt packages, or updating the media contact list. Since the Mohegan Sun Casino is most popular for their entertainment, there was always something interesting going on, and I wanted to make sure I was involved. After a few weeks, I ended up shadowing my supervisor at some amazing concerts and Meet and Greet events. Although I was giving up my own time on a Friday night, it proved to my employer that I was dedicated and interested in entertainment PR.
3. Research. No matter where you intern, you will always need to do some extra homework. For example, when I shadowed my supervisor during a Dancing with the Stars Meet and Greet, I was approached by someone who was curious about the event. Because I did some research on the event beforehand, I already knew all about the celebrities who would be there. I later found out that man who asked about the event was actually the VP of Guest Escorts. He mentioned to one of my co-workers how the PR department was lucky to have me as an intern.
4. Keep an Intern Journal. One of the best things you can do during your internship is to write about your experience. Not only is it cool to look back and see what you did, but it’s very helpful in building a portfolio and resume. Take my advice and start writing!
5. Always send a THANK YOU CARD. It leaves a great lasting impression on your employer. Write about some of the most significant experiences you had at your internship, and thank them for giving you the opportunity to work there.
These are only five lessons I learned during my internship, there are certainly more out there. What tips do you have from your professional experience?