Tales from Behind the Keyboard: My First Internship Experience

Tales from Behind the Keyboard: My First Internship Experience

This article first appeared on Rissa’s LinkedIn profile.  and describes her experience interning at Communications Solutions Group this summer. 

Since the beginning of my journey at La Salle, I was already driven to work hard to be successful in my future career. After having my first semester, I was even more driven to prepare myself for the future. Since then I have joined clubs, attended and worked events that allowed me to talk to various people to build my network. The importance of networking was first stressed to me when I attended an AWC event. It was then I started building my resume and social network for future internships and jobs. I also attended different career fairs since my freshman year, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year when I received my first internship, which was here at the Communication Solutions Group in Jenkintown. Having an internship is similar yet different from the classes you have as a communication major. It teaches you more skills and gives you more experiences in the career field you want. During my time here at CSG, I have learned so much and gained more skills that I will bring in the workforce.

Now, I know what a lot of people are thinking: Why are you interning when you can be having fun? Answer: to get more experience and have the chance to build my resumé. Summer is a time to wind down and relax from a stressful academic year, but experience and networking are needed for a better transition into the workforce. If you want to rest during your summer break, then by all means take a break; internships are not limited to the summer season, you can do one anytime. Internships are also a personal call, if you want to do it then go for it, if not then don’t. Remember that if you force yourself to do something you don’t like, you won’t be able to put your heart in to the work that you do.

However, if you are interning or plan on doing an internship then pat yourself on the back, but know that just because you were chosen for an internship(s) does not mean you can lounge around and brew coffee for the staff – you actually have to do work.

My internship at CSG, taught me more about the Public Relations field and what specialists do every day. Aside from new skills, I learned new life lessons that I will take with me into my next internships and my future career. So for those who are going to be new interns, here are a few tips to make the best out of your internship:

1.    Choose an internship you are interested in

  •  If you force yourself to do something you don’t like, you will most likely not put a lot of work into it nor will you enjoy the experience. An internship should be fun (despite the fact you are doing work) and in a field you are interested in. I had a great time at Communication Solutions and learned many new skills and gained more friends/connections. The fun atmosphere helped me to relax and work to the best of my abilities on different projects.

2.    Work Hard

  •  Summer vacation is not an excuse to be lazy. An internship is just like a class or a job, you need to work hard in order to succeed. The best thing about an internship is you have the chance to scope out what your strengths and weaknesses are and improve them. When you continue to do the work assigned to you continuously, it becomes easier and you start to improve slowly and before you know it, you’ll be doing press releases and media alerts like you’ve been doing them for years.

3.    Ask Questions

  •  Don’t be afraid to ask any questions about anything, there is no such thing as a stupid question (no matter how weird it sounds in your mind). The whole point of an internship is to learn and discover new skills and abilities and you can’t learn without asking questions. I can’t even count the number of times I stepped foot in Leza’s office and asked about my work, but it helped me see where I needed to improve. However, if you don’t feel comfortable asking your boss, you can also ask your other co-workers for help/insight because chances are you aren’t the only one having trouble with your work.

4.    Accept Criticisms

  • Let’s face it, getting criticized is embarrassing and accepting criticism is hard; but it is an essential part of life, especially if you are going to enter Public Relations. Whether it’s a missing punctuation point or completely re-vamping your press release, it’s important to listen to the critiques given by the people around you. I know it can be discouraging and frustrating but their critiques will help you in your internship and will help you improve your work.

5.    Keep an Open Mind

  •  Your first internship may not be the one you want, but it’s important to keep an open mind. Keeping an open mind helps you broaden your skills and expands your choices for your future career. When I first started my internship, I didn’t realize how much writing I had to do and I was debating on continuing. However, as the days went on I found myself realizing how much I needed to improve my writing – especially on press releases. It was at that moment I realized that although I was an exceptional writer, there were still some skills I have to learn in order to be a great PR specialist in the future.

6.    Relax & Have Fun

  • Although you have to work hard and take assignments seriously, it’s also important to take a breath and have fun. Remember that this is just an internship, it’s not an actual job (yet). It’s ok to take a break and go for walk (if you need to) or talk with your other co-workers. I was fortunate enough to intern with a friend from La Salle, Dan Sardaro. It made interning less frightening knowing I already had a friend to share ideas with and to talk to during breaks. It’s also important to enjoy what you’re doing, (if not then think if this is the career for you). One of the things I enjoyed during my internship was venturing out to cover an event. Being able to cover and report those events made me feel a part of something big and made me realize how much I enjoyed PR.

As summer begins to dwindle down, I can’t help but feel bittersweet knowing my time with Communication Solutions is about to end. My internship at the Communication Solutions Group was a time well spent and only solidified my affinity for PR. Not only did I gain new skills and connections, but I also got to be a part of many projects and report about it. Interning this summer was without a doubt one of the best decisions I’ve made this year and I’m thankful who everyone who made it amazing.

 

Rissa is a junior Communication major specializing in both Public Relations and Communication Management at La Salle University. When she am not in the classroom absorbing information, she can be seen running around campus working as an Assistant Event Coordinator for University Events and working various events for my clubs. She also secretary of PRSSA La Salle and serves on the E-Board of the Association for Women in Communications (AWC). Contact her at delpuertor1@student.lasalle.edu