prepare for an internship
1. Sit down, relax and soul search. Find a productive workspace, brew some coffee and start to think about what career path you want to take. Ask yourself questions about what you are looking for. If you’re in college, but still unsure of what career path you want to take, think about what classes you’re most passionate about and go from there.
2. Research. Once you have decided on a career that might interest you, use as many resources as you can to learn about that industry. It’s important even if you’re entering in as an intern to know a lot about the field that you are trying to break in to.
3. Make a resume/cover letter. Make sure that your resume is up-to-date and that you have a good template for your cover letter. Depending on each internship you apply for, your cover letter could change based on the skill set the company requires. Also, make sure to have references handy and to contact them in enough time if a letter of recommendation is required.
4. Clean up your social media presence. Google yourself and make sure there’s nothing online that could potentially be deemed inappropriate by your future employer. Delete everything that you would have trouble explaining to your conservative grandmother. Always keep in mind the difference between tweeting for professional reasons and for pleasure.
5. Prepare for interviews. Learn interview etiquette, look up tips online and have your questions prepared. Look up the proper dress code in order to dress for success and utilize sites like Pinterest to organize your resources. Always wear something that is professional, but fits your personality too.
Now that you’re prepared and have done your research, go out and start applying. Stay confident and remember what you’ve learned along the way. Good luck!
For when you want a quick, but healthy lunch: MAD Greens
MAD Greens is the perfect lunch choice. Between the fun menu item names (come on, aren’t you curious as to what the Edgar Allan Poe salad is all about?) and their quick service, it’s hard to beat this place. MAD Greens saw the lack of healthy fast food and pioneered the fast-casual salad restaurant, showing that it is possible to get healthy and flavorful food at the same speed as a burger and fries. Along with salads, MAD Greens has a variety of paninis, wraps, juices and even hummus plates.
We suggest: the Doc Holliday salad—it’s an Arizona exclusive!
For when you’re really craving a burger: Rehab Burger Therapy
Rehab Burger Therapy is a fun, beach-themed burger joint in Scottsdale that is just waiting to take you on a trip down to flavor town! It is definitely the place to take a group of your coworkers for lunch to add some fun to the workday. While they have classic burgers like the Bacon Cheeseburger, they also have options for those who want to take a flavor adventure like the PBJ & Bacon Burger (a burger with peanut butter, grape jelly, bacon and sriracha sauce). Rehab Burger Therapy’s Veggie Burger will have both vegetarians and vegans rejoicing!
We suggest: embrace the beach theme with the Hawaiian Burger
For when you can’t decide if you want Mexican or Asian food: SumoMaya
SumoMaya uses fresh ingredients and the bold flavors of both Latin American and Far East cuisine to create an exciting tapas-inspired experience. Your taste palate is going to expand when you go here for lunch. This is a restaurant that you’re going to want to bring some coworkers along with, as they recommend choosing three to five dishes to really grasp the entirety of their Mexican-Asian fusion concept. From sushi to tacos to noodle dishes, SumoMaya is going to have you wanting to try everything on the menu and will easily become one of your favorite lunch destinations.
We suggest: the Coconut Ahi Tuna Tartar
For when you’re wanting a change of scenery: Zinc Bistro
We know it’s scorching outside, but you’re going to want to keep this one in the back of your mind for when it starts cooling down. Complete with an oyster bar and a cozy garden patio, Zinc Bistro is a Parisian-inspired bistro in Kierland Commons that will transport you straight to the French countryside. You will want to start out with their cheese platter for an appetizer before you dive into their mouth-watering, crispy duck confit—but don’t forget to order a side of truffle and parmesan frites to share with your table!
We suggest: the Crispy Duck Confit sandwich
For when you want some sophisticated bar food: The Vig
If it’s Monday and you’re dreaming of Friday, then the Vig is where you want to go. The Vig is an upscale tavern that makes it perfectly acceptable to indulge in some Friday fun on a Monday afternoon. You’re going to want to dive into their appetizers where they refine the concept of classic bar food for your sophisticated palate. We don’t blame you for wanting to fill up on those appetizers, but don’t forget to browse the rest of their menu which features a fan favorite of grilled fish tacos, a variety of burgers and mouth-watering desserts served in mason jars.
We suggest: the Hot Vings
– Bri Arreguin-Malloy
By: Ashton Meisner
For a college student, an internship can sound intimidating, time-consuming and basically like giving away free labor. While that might sound scary, being an intern can be really helpful to network in your preferred field, learn important tricks of the trade and get in the direction that is best for your career. However, nothing worthwhile comes easy and it’s important to remember to work so hard that your supervisors can’t help but praise you.
No Money, No Problem
An internship is a crucial time to NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Although you might not be making those big bucks just yet, you shouldn’t be slacking on your share of work. Your supervisors could be watching you as a potential, future employee or you might need their help with a good letter of recommendation down the road. Make your time spent at your internship worthwhile. If you’re constantly on your Facebook page or working on your favorite Pinterest board, your boss might not be thinking you’d fit the mold as a future PAID employee.
Happy Little Worker Bee
Let’s face it, no one wants to be around a “Negative Nancy” all day. True, being assigned a big task like working with a client’s entire media list might not sound like the best time of your life but it has to be done! Take on the challenge and make it a time to show your boss your work ethic. Complainers and negative people usually aren’t tolerated and are totally replaceable. Remind your supervisor why they hired you in the first place.
I Get By With a Little Help From My Co-workers
If you get the opportunity, get to know who you’re working with. You might find out one of your co-workers is originally from your hometown or another works at your favorite restaurant. It’s amazing how little connections like these can end up being big networking tools later on or even friendships outside of work. Also, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a supervisor that wants to get to know you. Talk to that person, learn from him/her and ask questions. This could really be beneficial to your learning experience and it could make it a little more enjoyable.
It’s All In The Fine Print
Ever heard the saying, “The little things in life end up being the big things”? This is true at work too. If your supervisor assigns a task, take notes, remember exactly how he/she wants the project completed and pay attention to details. They will be impressed by your effort to do exactly what they had asked. This will establish trust and make you feel more comfortable in the workplace. Give it 110%.
It’s Not Personal
When getting corrected at your internship, it can be hard to not take offense and take the corrections personally. As an intern you must be thick-skinned and realize your supervisors aren’t trying to attack you, they want to help you improve. Focus on what is being asked of you and do your best until you get it right.
Thanksgiving Isn’t Just a Holiday
At the end of your time with your internship, it is crucial to be thankful and make sure your supervisors are aware of it. Every internship you encounter could open doors to new jobs, connections and future opportunities. Do something special for your supervisors to let them know what a pleasure it was learning under them and how thankful you are for their patience, efforts and knowledge. Who knows, maybe if you’re lucky you could score yourself a future job with that company.
Not a bad way to start a Friday…Starbucks and a webinar with Guy Kawasaki!
Meet our interns Natalie and Ashley! They’re always working hard in the office!
You hear your professors and peers say over and over again how important it is in the marketing, advertising, public relations and communications industries to get internships while attending college.
Internships not only put you ahead of your competition for the post-grad job search, but they also provide valuable insight into the industry in which you plan to dedicate your future career.
Taking you out of the classroom and placing you in real-life settings where your studies are brought to life, internships put you in action and let you see what roles are right for you.
Getting your feet wet at an advertising agency can really show you what your future career may be like.
So, taking this all to heart, you got an internship. Now what? As a seasoned intern, I have gained countless nuggets of wisdom practicing advertising and public relations for a variety of companies. Here, in this internship survival guide, I have collected some of my top tips acquired from my own personal interning experiences.
Observe Before You Act
In the first week of your internship, hang back to get a feel of the office culture. As a new intern, you are going to be very eager to please. Often times, this eagerness can lead to interns coming on too strong and accidentally becoming annoyances. Test the waters of your new work environment first before you throw yourself in.
Every company is different, as are the people who work within each one. While some businesses love fun, friendship and exuberance, others may enjoy a toned-down atmosphere. By using the beginning of your internship to absorb your office surroundings, you will soon learn how to best handle yourself and your position.
Advertise Yourself Through Your Wardrobe
This phrase is so overused that it pains me to write it, but always dress to impress. In some offices people dress very casually, and it will be tempting to follow suit. However, you never know when a special opportunity comes up that requires professional attire.
Once during a past internship, my boss invited some of my fellow interns to attend a client meeting with her. Seeing that they were dressed casually in shorts and tank tops, like a usual day at the office, she quickly retracted her offer.
You never want to miss out on a valuable learning experience, so always dress in a way that represents yourself and the business in the best way possible. Never be an intern that the company feels like they need to hide.
Be an Independent Thinker
Something that you will discover quickly is that your supervisors are very busy people. They will not always be available to give you projects to work on.
Know how to busy yourself, but in a productive way. When you find times that you don’t have anything to do, never resort to checking Facebook or goofing off. I promise you that the one time you let yourself browse your social media pages, it will be the one time your supervisor comes over to check on you.
Instead, think of ways to improve the projects you have already done. If you finished your goals for the day, don’t be afraid to begin tomorrow’s. Impress your superiors by using your free time to better the company. Look at their social media presence (their pages, not yours) and think of ideas of how it can be improved. No one gets mad at an intern for doing too much.
Remember an Internship is an Apprenticeship
Yes, companies often use interns as free labor, but remember that first and foremost your internship is meant to be a learning opportunity for you. Because you are still learning, don’t freak out if you mess up. It happens to the best of us, and you will probably learn more from that mistake than you will from doing everything correctly. Everyone in the office has been in your shoes before and made a few flubs.
In times of need or general curiosity, don’t feel like you are being a burden by asking questions. Your supervisors are here to help you and have a lot of knowledge to share. Show that your mind is pliable and jot down the things you learn in a notebook (that you should have on you at all times!) so that nothing goes to waste.
Also keep in mind that you have a lot to offer as well. Take on extra projects and volunteer special skills that you have outside of advertising or public relations. In another past internship of mine, I volunteered my photography skills to capture company events, instead of paying money to hire a photographer. My boss loved my photos and was both impressed and very grateful for my help.
Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!
Internships are amazing. The more you do, the more you learn. You will gain a lot of long-lasting professional and personal relationships that will help you navigate through your future career.
The McRae Agency’s Jessica Pate featured in the July issue of Arizona Foothills Magazine for tweeting for Arizona nonprofits, Ivy Foundation and T.W. Lewis Foundation!
5 huge mistakes PR interns should never make
By Mickie Kennedy | Posted: May 6, 2013
An internship can be a great way to get your foot in the door in the PR industry, but if you don’t take the right approach, it can also be a sure-fire way to ruin your reputation and kill your career before it gets off the ground.
Make no mistake—you’re going to make mistakes along the way. That’s perfectly okay. That’s what being an intern is about. You’re learning; people expect you to screw things up now and again. No sweat. But honest mistakes coming from a hardworking intern are one thing; the following mistakes are ones you simply cannot afford to make.
Act like you’re above lowly tasks. As an intern, you’re going to have to do a lot of boring, lowly tasks. You’re not going to get the exciting projects right out of the gate. Your boss wants to see that you are dependable and have a good work ethic before he or she will hand you more interesting work.
Dress unprofessionally. Dress for the job you want to have, not the job you have. If you come in dressed like a casual student, no one will take you seriously. Pay attention to how the true professionals in the office dress and try to mirror that in your own dress.
Talk bad about others in the office. No one likes the office gossip, especially when he or she is an intern. Keep your mouth shut, and respect everyone around you. Not to be too harsh, but you’re the lowest person on the totem pole, and you’ll never gain respect by talking bad about others in the office.
Not thank the people who help you. A lot of people will take time to help you as an intern. It might be a co-worker showing you how to do something, your boss offering helpful feedback, or someone giving you a recommendation for a career opportunity. No matter the situation, always offer a heartfelt thank you. Show everyone just how appreciative you are for their help.
Not learn or improve. Internships are learning experiences, but you have to be committed to actually learning and refining your skills. I recommend always having a pen and notepad on you so that you can take notes and avoid asking the same questions or making the same mistakes over and over again. Write everything down. You never know when that information will come in handy. If you’re committed to bettering yourself every day, your skills will improve, and that’s all anyone can ask from an intern.
PR pros, what mistakes did you make during your internship?
12 things to expect from a PR firm
By Beth Monaghan | Posted: January 25, 2013
How should I choose a PR firm?
Each time someone asks me this, dozens of answers flutter to the forefront of my mind, but I always choose two fairly tangible criteria: fit and experience.
On the surface, it can be easy for all agencies to sound similar, which makes fit and experience crucial. You need an agency that understands your audience and your market, and the reporters you need to reach. Fit is equally important. You’ll be working closely with the PR agency every single day (and many evenings), so you’ll need to be able to work well with the assigned account team.
However, fit and experience alone will not make your agency successful on your behalf. Here are some important qualities you should expect form an agency that is committed to your success. You need an agency that:
1. Owns the process. You want an agency that will never say, “Well, we sent you the guidelines for the Forbes contributed article three months ago and never heard back.” Your agency should be a professional nagger—they should never let you be the reason for a missed deadline.
2. Pushes back. You are hiring a PR firm for its expertise, so find one that provides firm recommendations. If your account team is constantly nodding their heads and yessing you, there is a problem. The success of your PR program requires a team leader who can adamantly say no in the face of tough scrutiny when something just won’t work.
3. Knows when to give in. There are times when other company goals, such as sales campaigns, take priority over PR (for example, when a sales team is under the gun to meet quarterly goals and needs to push out a direct email campaign in advance of the press release). Your PR firm should tell you the optimal plan for getting great media coverage, but should also accept it when PR is not at the top of the list.
4. Makes it happen. Only clients should have the luxury of asking big questions without offering solutions, such as, “How can we maximize our attendance at an upcoming trade show?” Good PR firms know that the right response is a list of viable options, not more questions.
5. Surprises you with unexpected and creative ideas. Your PR firm should march to the beat of the PR plan, but they should also bring you unexpected and creative ideas. This demonstrates that they are paying active attention. Only intellectually hungry people will tie the right pieces together to make you relevant in a way that matters to the press.
6. Owns mistakes. If your agency needs to be right all of the time, it’s a problem. You need an agency that abides by the rules of crisis PR (even when the crisis is a very small one): tell it all, truthfully, and tell it now. This takes confidence and humility, but it is the sign of a great communicator.
7. Hustles. Look for an agency that is pushing you, not the other way around.
8. Writes well. Content marketing has changed PR forever. Adequate press release writing skills are no longer enough. You need an agency that can sift through mountains of information, zero in on the interesting angle, and ghost author an article for your spokesperson. Ask for samples, and look at the agency’s blog.
9. Listens intently. PR people are renowned great talkers. We need to be. However, we need to know how to listen, too. You need a PR agency full of the kind of analytical and open minds that can scan the conversation for points of interest, drive the discussion toward them and relate them to your broader industry.
10. Empathizes. You need a PR agency team that can imagine what it’s like to be you. What pressures do you face internally, from your board, from competitors, others? Is PR central to your role or tangential? Coincidentally, this skill also makes PR people great at media relations—we must imagine what it’s like to be each reporter if we have a prayer of selling a story.
11. Navigates options and contingencies like an attorney. There are many decisions we must make along the winding route between the pitch and the placement. You need an agency that understands the media landscape—which outlets (and journalists) compete, which reporters require exclusives, which ones care about embargoes, and which angles will compel coverage.
Sifting through these and responding appropriately when an embargo is broken or an exclusive falls through tests the skills of the best PR professionals, so make sure you have a team that can bend gracefully when a critical relationship is at stake, and hold firm when your company goals require it.
12. Thick skin. PR people sit in the middle of two constituents whose goals are not always aligned: the media and our clients. Finding the common ground that creates successful outcomes for both requires an ability to handle discord well.
4 myths about PR agencies spreading across college campuses
By Ryan McShane | Posted: January 15, 2013
During mentor sessions, students often describe their job-hunting progress and feelings toward different areas of public relations. It is evident that many myths are still looming across campuses, and I’m here to teach from my experience.
MYTH: An agency is always the best career starter
I have several arguments why most students should start their careers with an agency. Agencies help young professionals to discover their talents, broaden their knowledge, and develop relationships across the industry.
That said, several of my friends and colleagues have started their careers in-house and have achieved great success in doing so. Ultimately, agency public relations should be on your radar, but evaluate each job opportunity independently to find the right fit for you and your growth.
MYTH: Any agency will do
Again, I’ll concede that having agency experience on your résumé will help you gain future employment. As an internship director, it’s comforting to find candidates with prior agency internships under their belts, because it shows these folks likely have experienced (and survived) the fast-paced environment that faced them.
Pace aside, many agencies do not observe ethics and best practices, and some of those flaws may follow you in the form of bad habits or a “what not to do” case study. Don’t be that case study.
MYTH: Agencies are short-term jobs
This is a myth that I often hear when working with students and young professionals. It’s true that agency turnover is generally more volatile than in-house. Because of some of the things I mentioned above, agency practitioners often find opportunities to specialize in particular fields of interest.
However, many practitioners are cut out for a long-term career in agency public relations. Senior management often rewards this loyalty, as it sends a positive message to clients and the rest of the staff. A long-term agency path also enables you to maintain the fast-paced environment and diversified workload that many practitioners need to remain professionally hungry.
MYTH: Serving multiple clients will broaden my skills
Benefits of working on multiple client accounts include learning different sectors and honing time management skills. Conversely, young professionals who are staffed across too many accounts are unable to completely immerse themselves into their clients’ businesses and needs.
In addition, working with too many clients will likely limit growth opportunities. Imagine being staffed across four to five clients. After monitoring for coverage, clipping placements, and building media lists, you’d likely need to repeat the same process for your next client to keep up with the workload.
Many agencies lose great young talent, because they limited their professional development. However, other agencies recognize the importance of challenging their staff on a daily basis—limiting their accounts plays a big part of that vision.