Beginner's Guide to Business Internships

Written by: Dani DeVries

As a newcomer to the PR industry, I had no idea of what to expect when I walked, or rather, flew, into the Crowe PR nest on my first day. Coming from a communication and journalism background, I knew that my writing skills would lend themselves to the job, but otherwise I was mostly blind to what actually happens at PR firms. I knew the basics —working to build up and maintain a good reputation for clients —aside from that I was lost. Luckily, the Crowe team took me under their wings–pun intended, and showed me the ropes. Here are some things you can expect when entering the PR world as an intern.

Research, Research, and, You Guessed it, More Research:

The first, and probably most frequent task, you will be preforming as an intern is research. Whether it’s combing through social media channels and blogs to find the best influencers, familiarizing yourself with media outlets and journalists to build media lists, or looking into opportunities for your clients, research is a major part of any PR job. Luckily, given that industries are constantly changing, influencers are always emerging, and journalists are working tirelessly on new pieces, this research is always new and interesting, not to mention incredibly helpful for your team and clients.

Letting Your Creative Juices Flow:

If you’re lucky, your team will let you try your hand at writing pitches. Pitching publications for clients is a major aspect of any PR job, so it’s good to start getting used to drafting creative pitches. The first couple of times, pitching might be difficult, as it is different from an academic or news writing style that many interns may be accustomed to. Once you get the hang of it though, getting to write pitches is great, because you get a chance to creatively try out a new writing style, while also helping get the word out about your clients.

Your Baby, aka Your Special Project:

After proving yourself for a bit, chances are the team will assign you a special project you will continue to work on for the duration of your internship. Trust me when I say, you will become very attached to this project, as you will be chipping away at it each week. Plus, it’s most likely the first time during your internship that something will be entirely your own, and you’ll get to work through all the different aspects of the project in your own way. For me, when my special project came along, I got to work directly with clients and influencers for the first time, so it was very exciting for me. No matter your project, it is a testament to your work ethic, and indicates the team trusts you to take on this added responsibility.

Just a ‘Lil Bit of Grunt Work:

Sure, you get to work on awesome projects and learn a ton of new things, but sometimes there are some unfavorable tasks that fall to the intern. Let’s face it, someone needs to fetch the mail, take out the recycling, and sometimes pick up lunch for the team. These tasks are so few and far between though, they probably only make up .005 percent of your internship. But hey, it’s only fair after all, everyone has to pay their dues as they work their way up.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, as tasks will change depending on the firm, and weekly agendas, it is likely during a new PR internship, that you will experience most, if not all, of these tasks. As long as you enter into your internship with an open mind, the willingness to work hard, and the ability to be adaptable, chances are you excel at any tasks your team throws your way.