An internship in any industry is vital to getting a foot in the door and a leg up on your competition with respect to obtaining a job. It helps determine if this field is the right one for the student or job-seeker, as well as provide the necessary introductory training for the intern to learn the basic skills of said profession.
In public relations, an internship is often the key to a successful career in the field as it encompasses most of the duties a person finds in an entry-level position, and not just administrative tasks. From learning how to use media-centric databases, performing client research, preparing clip reports, coordinating and working special events and helping with social media projects among other tasks, interns really get a taste of the many skills and communication methods that are required to become a solid PR practitioner.
Additionally, a public relations internship can help an applicant determine if he or she wants to work on the agency or in-house side of the industry. As my colleague Regina wrote in an earlier post, positions on either side can be very rewarding depending if you have the right skill set and personality to match the position. An internship is very useful in helping students and job-seekers navigate the waters of in-house and agency life and determine what side is the right fit for them.
Most importantly, public relations internships provide interns with skills that contribute to their overall professional success and not just within the industry. A few examples include: learning the fine art of networking through helping with and staffing special events; becoming well versed in social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, that can help their job prospects; and enhancing their written communication skills through press release, pitch and letter writing.
I know my media relations internship in college certainly paved the way for me to become a strong PR practitioner. Let me know how your internship helped you in the comments section below.