From Blair Johnson, a Himmelrich PR intern who will be graduating in May from Towson University:
When asked in my interview for my internship at Himmelrich PR, “How do you define public relations?” I scrambled to come up with an answer. I can tell you examples of good PR and bad PR and I’ve created a fake PR campaign for class, but when asked to define the top subject that has been the sole focus of my higher education, I drew a blank. It might have been interview jitters, but maybe I struggled because I didn’t completely understand PR. Being an intern has helped me grasp not only the concept of PR, but has taught me valuable, practical lessons that I will be able to use in the future.
Being an intern at Himmelrich PR exceeded any expectations I had. Not only did I get to do meaningful work instead of just mundane tasks, but I was actually asked for my input. I saw a successful, fast-paced work environment first-hand and grasped a better understanding of what effective public relations consists of. The most valuable lessons I will take away from my internship are:
– Get to the point. Press materials, media pitches or emails shouldn’t be too lengthy. You want to get your point across in a concise, captivating manner.
– Don’t pass up any opportunity. Attend client meetings when given the chance. Join group brainstorming efforts. Participate in as many conversations as possible. Find a way to put yourself out there and contribute.
– Speak in different voices. Having an understanding of the client’s point of view, voice and vision is essential in writing effective social media content, press releases and other communications that represent them.
– It isn’t by the book. While you may learn a lot in classes, it’s the real world experiences that will teach you the most. Don’t be afraid to take chances, lose the fear of being wrong or taking missteps—you’ll get much more out of your internship that way.
In addition to these lessons, I now know that public relations is not just one thing, or singularly defined. I was able to see it’s an ever-evolving approach to meeting the varying aspects of client’s goals—whether it’s planning events, generating attendance, coordinating sponsorships or facilitating a rebranding project. I will always be grateful for the skills I have developed this past semester, and for the better understanding I have of a field I now know I want to pursue a career in.