How To Be An Intern


The Intern: a fresh-faced student with limitless potential, typically embracing the belief that college coursework is equivalent to experience; not yet hardened by the industry, naive but optimistic about the ways of the world; full of romanticized ideals for a future career, yet often simultaneously unsure about choice of college major.

That was me, roughly ten weeks ago. I feel fairly certain this is the mindset of the average intern, whether entering the public relations industry or not. How to be an intern may appear glaringly obvious at first: “What could really be so difficult about sending some emails and making coffee?,” I hear you saying to yourself. But based on my recent time here at Linda Costa Communications Group, I would have appreciated these helpful observations before diving into the professional communication arena:

  • Get local. As a University of South Carolina student, I knew very little about Orlando before my arrival, and I could have benefited from some research to get my bearings. Trying to promote a client gets complicated when you don’t know county names or local media, so start investigating local news channels, radio stations and events beforehand.
  • Read your textbooks … and then leave them at school. With a major in advertising, I did not come into the field totally blind, and I thought I had some of the skills necessary for success. Let me tell you, though: there is so much more to writing than the AP Stylebook. You need relationships with local media, you need the right tone, and above all, you need to have the client in mind.
  • Sweat the small stuff. Details are everything in this business. One wrong word, a fact that goes unchecked – these can make or break you. Double-check everything. Even the slightest typo reflects on the image of the client.
  • Be open to every opportunity. This may sound vague and cliché, but it is probably the most important suggestion. Be open to things you are not sure that you’re cut out for. I never saw myself as a future account executive. Now I realize there is something strangely soothing about writing a press release, and seeing a response to even just one of your 100 pitches is the most validating thing that could happen in a work day.

Some of my intern qualities remain (I’d like to think I still have limitless potential…), but I’ve bid others farewell for the better. While my perceptions of myself and the PR field have changed, my first glimpse into the industry has been both rewarding and exceptionally painless at Linda Costa Communications Group (and coffee-making free!). I couldn’t have asked for better, and I will most certainly be keeping my major.

Intern Devin Pascoe has only one more summer to perfect the art of being an intern. She hopes to take her own advice with her as she ventures deeper into the communications field, along with her newly acquired experience, portfolio and confidence.