51 Tips for a Successful Internship


Good internships are difficult to get your hands on and once you’ve secured one, it’s important to make the most of your short time in the company.

Whether you need help with interviews, networking with your new colleagues or advice on expanding your workload, take a look at these tips to make sure you can be selected for and take advantage of a brilliant internship opportunity.


1. Check the websites of companies you are interested in.

2. It’s also a good idea to register with a few of the many internship agencies that can be found online.

3. Use any contacts you already have to find out about vacancies.

4. Don’t be afraid to send speculative applications to companies you’re interested in.

5. Once you’ve found or been sent an opportunity that you’re interested in, take a look at the day-to-day tasks and development opportunities to ensure it will meet your requirements.

6. The next step is to send your CV to the company in an attempt to secure an interview.

7. Make sure your CV is professional and tailored for the job you’re applying for.

8. Ensure you ask someone to proofread your CV – spelling mistakes are likely to lose you a job opportunity despite any relevant experience you may already have.

9. If you’re still at university you may have access to a careers service that can help you put your CV together.

The Interview

10. Make sure you dress accordingly. If you’re not sure on the office culture, go smart.

11. Be polite at all times, saying please and thank-you goes a long way!

12. Prepare a few questions for your interviewer to show how interested you are in the company.

13. Re-visit the original advert for the interview to see the key qualities the interviewer will be looking for. This will enable you to pre-empt questions.


It’s important to make sure you are well prepared for the first day.

14. Read up on the company you’ll be working for.

15. If it’s a small company, the website will often give short bios of senior members of staff and descriptions of departments. Check their latest press-releases and research the company using online search engines.

16. Try to find out the dress code through website images or contacts you already have.

17. Spend time thinking about what your main objectives are for the internship and how you’ll achieve them.

18. If you want to be offered a permanent role, treat the internship like a long interview and strive to appear innovative and useful to the company.

19. If you just want an introduction to the industry, focus on networking and building a list of contacts.

First Day

20. It’s important to remember that the first day, and probably the first week, will be a shock to the system!

21. Being new in the office is always tough but as long as you focus on working hard and being polite, you will soon fit into the team.

22. On your first day, use your introductory meeting with your supervisor to agree  the focus of your internship and the opportunities you’ll be given.

23. Try and go for coffee or have short meetings with the people you will be coming into contact with – this not only helps you to feel at home but will give others the perception that you are approachable and eager to learn from them.

24. Attend as many meetings as possible to get exposure to the right people and issues.

During Your Internship

25. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to – it’s always better to ask how to do something instead of doing it wrong.

26. Always ask for honest feedback from your colleagues and supervisor. You’re in an internship to learn; asking others to offer advice on your development points will help you to improve.

27. Be polite to everyone you work with. You never know what you might need from them next week!

28. Keep hard copies of feedback you receive and good work you do as an intern. It will be useful to return to once the internship is over.

29. Always take notes when you’re given instructions – it will help to prevent silly mistakes.

30. Don’t be downhearted if you feel some of the work you’re given is below your intelligence level. You still have to prove yourself and maintaining a good attitude at all times is important.

31. Be innovative. Look for opportunities to prove yourself as a useful asset to the company; this could be by designing a social networking page or reorganising the filing system.

32. If you can get 15 minutes of time with someone senior, produce a short presentation to show them an idea you have for the company.

What If It Goes Wrong?

33. One such issue could be that you are stuck carrying out menial tasks without any opportunity to get involved in interesting projects. If this is the case for you, make it clear to your supervisor that you are happy to carry on with the work you have been given but that you have spare capacity to help out with more challenging work.

34. Or alternatively, suggest projects you can be involved in.

35. If you’re trapped at your desk with no chance of networking, create your own opportunities by setting up meetings with people outside your team or management chain.

36. If it becomes clear early in your internship that no interns are ever offered permanent roles at the company, endeavour to ask senior staff why this is the case. The fact that you are attempting to rectify the situation will stand you out from others.

37. Making a mistake during an internship can feel devastating but everyone makes mistakes at work at some point in their career. If you do something wrong, notify your supervisor immediately and make it clear that you would like to solve the problem yourself. Owning up to your downfalls will make you are more reliable colleague and employee.

Before Your Internship Ends

38. Book exit meetings with your supervisor and key contacts.

39. Get a written reference listing your achievements and take contact details of anyone you think could help you in your future career.

40. Ensure you thank colleagues who have offered time and advice.

41. Don’t forget to take a few cakes in for your last day in the office! Everybody loves cake.

42. The most important objective for your last few days is to ask for feedback covering your whole internship and learning points that can help you develop in the future.

43. Don’t ignore this feedback – use it to consider how you work in your next role and to book onto courses that will help you to develop.

Follow Up

44. Make sure you write your own report of your internship, it will jog your memory if you need to think of useful experiences at work as examples for interviews in the future.

45. If there was someone particularly inspiring that you met during your placement, keep in contact with them and ask them to be your mentor.

46. Keep in touch with other members of the team by email and ask them to let you know of any job opportunities or freelance work that might be coming up.

47. Also, use your contacts to keep your finger on the pulse of your chosen industry – this can be difficult once you return to the world of study or a job outside the area you’re aiming for.

48. If possible, ask your supervisor for a written report that can be used as a quick job reference in the future.

And Finally…

49. The most important tip is that you should never give up. Internships can be tough, especially for people who have not previously worked in an office.

50. If you have an issue, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from colleagues, your supervisor and others outside work.

51. Try to relax and remain professional whilst milking your internship for all the development opportunities it offers.  View your internship as a vocational learning experience.

About the Author:
Patrick Ross is a blogger who focuses his articles on young adults who are entering new careers. If you are interested in a career in PR and are considering an internship you might want to check out this blog, PR internships, which includes other articles from Patrick and other bloggers like himself.



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How to Find and Secure a Part-Time Teaching Position in Public Relations

Opportunities abound for public relations professionals willing to share their expertise and passion through teaching. Here’s an overview of how to find these part-time teaching jobs at higher education institutions, based on techniques I’ve employed during fourteen years of teaching such classes.

– Check out regional listings under Yahoo by visiting here to identify universities where you’d like to teach. Next, visit a university’s website, identify academic programs that offer relevant classes, then move on to other university departments that may offer degree and non-degree granting programs. You also might search a university’s course listings using key words “public relations” and “marketing” to unearth courses.

– Visit websites that list part-time positions in higher education, such as: 1) The Chronicle of Higher Education; 2) Online Faculty Careers; 3) Inside Higher Ed; 4) HigherEdJobs; 5) The National Higher Education Recruitment Consortium; 6) AdjunctWorld Resources. These encompass opportunities in traditional classroom settings as well as online. I’ve found that using keywords “adjunct” or “part-time” combined with “teaching” or “instruction” (along with a geographic focus, if your goal is to teach in traditional classroom settings) will generate results.  Also explore general job search sites (e.g. Craigslist) as they often post announcements for adjunct teaching positions. On Twitter, follow @onlinefaccareer and search using the keyword “adjunct.”

– Once I identify programs that interest me, I secure the name of the person who screens and/or hires part-time instructors. I’ll then send that person a short e-mail (or leave a brief voicemail message), introducing myself, providing an overview of my experience, and stating an interest in adjunct teaching. I identify a class that’s already listed in the school’s catalog or on its Web site as one I’d like to teach in this initial query. The school might respond affirmatively to this inquiry, as they need someone immediately to take over teaching duties for the class. Alternatively, they may need someone on standby for the time when a faculty member is no longer available to teach. Should you receive a “no” or no response at all, don’t give up. Be persistent, and recognize that the lead-time for decision-making can vary from weeks to years.  I taught several classes at one university because I e-mailed the academic coordinator more than a year after my initial query, highlighting my availability and interest in teaching. The class I’d targeted eventually needed a new instructor, and that quickly evolved into a second class on a different topic (but one related to public relations).  My persistence paid off.

– You also can volunteer to be a guest speaker in an existing class by contacting the instructor. I’ve found highlighting a specialized area of knowledge (e.g., social media) as well as specific industry (e.g. education), sector (e.g. non-profit), and/or setting (e.g. agency, independent consultant) experience as the best approach to fit in to an existing course syllabus. A positive impression as a guest speaker can turn into an opportunity to teach an entire class. In addition to the techniques I’ve outlined above, it’s also important to let everyone know you want to teach part-time—particularly fellow members of professional organizations such as PRSA and IABC as well as friends and colleagues who work at educational institutions. Adjunct openings often are not advertised.

In short, teaching opportunities await public relations practitioners who spend the time to seek them out.  The techniques outlined here should give you a great start on that process.

About the Author
Dr. Mitchell Friedman (@mitchellfriedmn) has taught management communication and related topics to graduate students at the University of San Francisco, the University of California, Davis, and West Virginia University. He also provides professional development and education to public relations agencies. He recently completed doctoral dissertation explored leadership development in public relations. 

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Do PR Students and Pros Want to Work In-House or at an Agency?

January is almost here and you know what that means? Companies are hiring!

While finding jobs in this economy is no easy task, most places look to do their hiring at the start of a new year in order to get people on board and prepared to execute new yearly plans.

So with that in mind, I’m curious to know just what types of jobs people are looking to pursue. Whether you currently have a position or you’re pursuing one, please take a look at the poll below and submit a response.

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Want a Job in PR? It All Starts with the Cover Letter

A cover letter is a sure fire way to get your resume looked at by human resources. This is the first step in branding your package and who you are as a public relations practitioner.

As an experienced worker or beginner in PR, its important that you have the right information for the agency you’re most interested in. Be sure to do the research on the company to see if it would be a perfect fit for you before you put a second thought into writing that cover letter.

Secondly, ask yourself, how much do you know about the position – this way you can make sure that your cover letter showcases your capabilities.

Some of the best cover letters I have come across show just that. Here are some helpful tips from resumes I have come across to get your cover letter read and resume noticed:

  1. Research the company – this will help you generate a cover letter that gives you an edge
  2. Put thought into content –  a cover letter is a letter, keep it brief, but showcase your capabilities. This will entice HR into wanting to read your resume.
  3. Following direction – IMPORTANT! If you are asked to send it in a specific format, and addressed to a specific individual, do just that. If you don’t, this is an easy way to have your resume pushed to the side.
  4. Never send your cover letter as an attachment as it may not be opened. Keep your cover letter in the body of the email. As you can imagine, many HR practitioners received hundreds of emails a day, which more than 50% are blind emails.
  5. Always explain why you would be best suited for the position – this shows your interest most of all.

On a side note, please remember not to be informal – there should never be a “Hey There” or  “Hi, Chris”. If there is a name attached to the job posting, please use Mr. or Ms., and if you are sending it blindly to HR, always address it as Hiring Manager, or take the extra step to call the agency and find out who to address it to.

Remember, the cover letter is not obsolete and not expendable. It really is the best way to showcase to a potential employer your full portfolio.

About the Author
Lisa Hutchins is a human resources professional and a frequent contributor to PR at Sunrise. She has previously worked at leading PR firms such as Ruder Finn and Cohn & Wolfe. Her responsibilities have included recruiting, employee relations, and miscellaneous employee changes. In addition to her HR experience, she has also as a PR pro on an array of accounts and campaigns, including GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. Follow Lisa on Twitter via @lisahutchins.

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Choosing Your Career Path: In-House vs. Agency

Agencies and in-house PR/marketing departments each have their pros and cons, and either can provide a tremendous experience for aspiring marketers.

The following are some of the differences between in-house and agency work that I have experienced:



Scope of Attention

In-house employees know the ins and outs of the companies they work for, as their attention is completely devoted to one company and its clients. This expertise enables even the most junior person to bring value to the company. In an agency, the time spent with clients can vary, and contribution may be project specific. Publicists tend to be generalists, and their company-specific knowledge pales to that of someone in-house.

Variety of Work

In-house, the variety of one’s work is limited to one company, while publicists in agencies have their hands full with the campaigns of various clients. The plethora of clients allows newcomers to experience many aspects of PR that come with servicing different accounts, while in-housers only experience the strategies that their company employs.

Requests of Clients

While the agencies service businesses and individuals who entrust them with campaigns, in-house marketing departments service partners and clients of the company. The greatest liability is always on the marketing department, and not the agency of the firm. Executing an unsuccessful strategy or crisis management campaign may result in the loss of one client in an agency, while the same may translate to the loss of many clients in-house.


The pace of the agency tends to be faster and more versatile than the pace of a company, as many companies mimic their industry. Consider the type of environment you’d like to work in when evaluating whether in-house or agency is right for you.

About the Author
Marina Tsipenyuk is marketing professional with experience in the financial services, music, and beauty industries. She graduated from Rutgers Business School in May 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Marina has worked in the marketing department of a fund of hedge funds and interned in a Public Relations firm during her time in Rutgers. Connect with her on Twitter via @msipen.

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