The public relations intern serves as a support system for the execution of a public relations campaign. The role of the intern can be either paid or unpaid, and either in an agency setting or in house.
Interns usually are responsible for much of the “grunt work” involved in a PR campaign, but their level of responsibility can vary based on the context that they are working in. However, this “grunt work” is always connected to the bigger picture, and the tasks are never trivial. If an intern weren’t doing it, someone else would have to. Preliminary responsibilities may include taking notes, doing research, tracking media coverage, and assembling and shipping packages, especially in a consumer situation.
In an agency, interns are almost entirely a support role, and can get a bird’s eye view of the inner workings of the hierarchy. In an in-house role, they’ll likely take on more responsibilities and be exposed to strategic planning. However, the protocol may be less clear, and the chance for employment is usually lower.
Interns in agencies report to account coordinators, account executives, account supervisors, account directors, and PR vice presidents. In-house interns may report to communications managers, PR specialists, or a variety of other titles.
While this role doesn’t delve too far into the potential of your PR skill set, it does expose you to the fast-pace PR life, develop your work ethic, and teach you the trickle down effect of your responsibilities. You should be good with time management, multi-tasking and committed to following through on tasks to be a PR intern. You should also be detail-oriented, organized, and a quick learner.
If you’re considering applying for an intern position, your resume should show that you’re proactive, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. It should show that you aren’t above any specific task, and that you understand that your actions affect the overall health of a campaign.
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