I’ve heard many times that, statistically speaking, PR is one of the top five most stressful jobs in the country.
So naturally, I applied for an internship at Momentum Communications. Excited at having landed the job, I commuted to the office for the first time filled with confidence. That is, until I entered the building and deflated like a balloon with an anxiety disorder. Being an intern can be a nerve-racking experience, everything is new and there seems like a million and one ways that you mess up. Maybe there’s something to those statistics, I thought.
And I haven’t even mentioned the phone calls yet! In a world where I can even order take out online, speaking on the phone had become an absurdly uncomfortable experience. But in PR, making phone calls, especially to the press, is an integral part of being successful.
For my first phone call to pitch a story to a newspaper, I had come up with a script, practiced it out loud, and may or may not have done some deep breathing exercises. The phone rang and when someone picked up on the other line, my speech came out in a high-pitched rush. But after I made 10 phone calls, my voice became normal, and after I made 20, I didn’t need the script anymore, and after I made 30, I forgot that it had once been a big deal.
That’s what an internship is about. Being thrown into a new and, maybe, intimidating experience to learn from others who already know what it’s like. In the few weeks that I’ve been at Momentum, I’ve certainly learned a lot about pitching, media monitoring, making clipbooks, and more. And after having settled in, I’d say that though it’s definitely hectic, once you get your bearings, PR does not have to be a stressful job.
But if the idea of getting or starting a PR internship seems stressful to you, don’t worry. Here are some tips to help you get started at a PR internship.
- Apply! If you want the internship, don’t talk yourself out of it by saying you don’t have enough experience. This is how you get experience.
- Ask questions. If you don’t understand something the first time, ask to have it explained again. It’s okay to not understand, and it’s way better than doing it wrong.
- Do what scares you. Doing something that seems intimidating, like talking on the phone for me, is one of the best signs that you’re learning.
- Speak clearly. Whether in person or on the phone, no one has time to ask you to repeat everything.
- Stay organized. Keep a list of everything you have to do that day, that week, or even that month. Like I said, PR can get hectic and you don’t want something to slip through the cracks.
- Pay attention. Even if it’s not something you’re working on, pay attention to what those around you are doing. It’s a great way to learn about what you could be doing, once you make it past interning.