As I wrap up the past term at my current internship, I have thought long and hard about some key tips I would give to future PDXSXers.
1) Focus on being in the moment. DO NOT focus on the outcome of your internship experience. Is it a scary thing to not know what the aftermath of your 3 months of hard work will be? Absolutely. However, if you chose to dwell on getting hired out of your current internship experience you will miss the joy in learning the materials around you and the people you work with. Take a deep breath and just stay present.
2) Make as many personal relationships with your coworkers as you can. Keep them professional of course, but find a way to relate to them on a real and personal level. That way, you are blending in with the office vibe and showing that you would be an ideal candidate to work with long term. Also, it makes the time go by faster when you are having good conversation with your coworkers.
3) Make sure you ask for more opportunities if you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for more hours or more intense projects. Your boss will be impressed that you are trying to step up to the plate BUT you MUST remember, with great power comes great responsibility. If you are going to ask for more responsibility, you better be able to handle it.
4) Re-read emails or directions twice before acting upon them. Sometimes we get so excited about being given directions to complete a great project, that we read through the directions too quickly and mistakes happen. Read everything twice!
5) Mistakes happen. Take a deep breath, fix it, apologize and don’t let it happen again.
Face it, life sometimes throws us curve balls. How you handle them however will either make you or break you.
In my time at my current internship I have dealt with being extremely ill, a flat tire and having to pick my mother up from the airport. All of these happened suddenly and at the most unconveient times. Did I freak out and email everyone in my office and alert them of my horrible situation in extreme detail? Yes. Was that the proper way to go about it? No.
I allowed the pressure of this internship opportunity to get the best of me at times. I was so nervous at making any tiny mistake that I started walking on eggshells so that I never made any. The curve balls I was thrown are NOT big deals and do NOT need to be treated as such. They need to be addressed, explained briefly and then given an answer. Every single time that I had any problem and came to my bosses, they were understanding and calm about them.
Although at the time the situation seems stressful, you should take a deep breath and realize that you are allowed to have mistakes come up in your life. Now, if I have a problem I address is asap and in a calm professional way. Nine out of ten times they don’t even care that I am going to be late or can’t come in that day. They are humans also and we have to remember that!
At my current internship, I am given full reign to use the computer and any site associated with the world wide web that I want. With that being said, this freedom sometimes gets the best of me and I find myself slipping off task.
When we are given tasks at work to complete that are boring, we tend to slack off when sitting in front of a computer. I found myself the past few weeks spending more time than I should exploring celebrity gossip or looking at all the upcoming Black Friday sales.
While I understand that we all need a release at times, getting too distracted at work can negatively effect your job performance and show your coworkers that you are unable to stay to the task at hand. Instead of letting my distractions get the best of me, I found alternatives to my internet surfing addiction.
If I am feeling distracted and unable to focus now, I get up and take a little walk around my building. Popping my head outside for a minute or two calms and focuses me and allows me to return to my job and resume working. I’m not saying go on a mile walk but give yourself a few moments to chill out and unwind from the less than ideal task at hand.
The other day I was asked by one of my bosses to complete a certain step of a longer process and let her know when I was finished. Excited to be given the chance to step up a bit more, I jumped at the opportunity and decided I would go above and beyond what was being asked of me.
After reading the directions, I got to work and started compiling a Vocus pitch for various technology analysit and writers. Deciding to go a step farther I had thought I had been given the go ahead to send out the pitch from my personal account address. Making sure to cover my tracks, I re-read the directions and am SO happy that I did.
My boss had specifically told me to NOT send out the pitch myself and that she would help walk me through the process. I was so thankful I read the directions again and did not make that major mistake. Taking a moment to calm your excitement and make sure you are completing the tasks correctly is such a major deal in the public relations world. A mistake like that could have been really bad for not only myself but the agency I work for.
Now I re-read everything more times then needed, but if that saves me from messing up I will continue to do it.
Thanks to Megan’s post about traffic, I knew exactly what I was going to write about this week. The commute to my office is roughly only a 20 minute drive. However, because I chose to work a normal 9-5 day, I am constantly stuck in traffic both ways.
Being the cautious person I am, if I know I am going to be a bit late, I will email my coworkers and let them know. However, that method can get pretty old and pretty unprofessional after awhile so I made the irritating decision to wake up even earlier then I had been before and leave. THIS ALSO DID NOT WORK! I was even more late because ever MORE people were on the road at 8:00 vs. 8:45. Frustrated I knew I had to find a different route ASAP.
For an entire week I drove different ways to work to find which one worked best and actually found a surprising outcome. The fastest route to work was for me to backtrack and hop on a local highway that many assume to be crowded all the time. Not only did I get to work in half the time as before, but I was able to wake up later in the morning as well!
It feels nice to be there on time now and maintaining as professional an appearance as I can. So lesson is, backtracking is sometimes the way to go!
Since I decided to step up my hours, the projects I have been given have been more complex and longer than before. This is something I am really enjoying and in my opinion, excelling at. The three main projects I am working on are:
1) I am creating blog posts based around an area of expertise of the firm I work for. This means setting up Google Alerts, which bother me day and night, and having my grammar checked by a senior account assistant. The blog posts are centered around press release’s Google Alerts picks up and I edit them down. I think have been taking it a step further and tweeting out the link on my personal Twitter account to create more exposure and more hits. It’s been nice to have this long running project because it constantly gives me something to do and it’s a chance to show off my self-starting attitude.
2) Twitter gathering. For the past few weeks I have been gathering industry trends about our clients, not their products, and compiling them into lists for my coworkers. This means trying to find whatever gossip is out there, find the source and report back. While this has been a fun way to get really involved with what’s going on with my company, it can be pretty boring and not as exciting as you would imagine gossip to be.
3) Press lists. In Vocus, I have been gathering the names, contact info and publication URLs for various writers who talk about our clients products or our clients themselves. I think compile the information into a list for our client so that they can monitor who is talking about them and what they are saying. It’s also a way for us to know who to pitch new information to based on the articles they have written previously. I am definitely getting to know who the big shots are in the technology writing world and it’s been a good experience knowing who is who and what is what.
Last week, I had the priveledge of sitting in on my company’s conference with a very large and popular public releases news distribution company. The meeting was aimed at the chance to hire the company to help with the way we deal with our clients. This included how to get our press releases out to larger audience and how to go about creating multimedia content to be published on their sites.
Since this was my first real meeting, I was nervous to be meeting with such high powered excutives. However, not only did they make me feel welcomed but they also included me in the conversation. The tone of the conversation between both parties was professional but really friendly. The personalities going back and forth seemed to mesh and it made the meeting feel more like a casual conversation than an actual meeting.
Also, it was a nice way for me to really see up close my employer in action. He was smart and articulate and I was impressed but his questions and feedback. He knew exactly what he wanted and knew that he was going to get it one way or another, even if it wasn’t from their company. He had goals and wanted them to be met accordingly.
It was a great way for me to see how meetings between public relations officials are conducted. I was able to see how the pitch went, how the feedback went and what the concluding turnout was. It’s something I look forward to seeing more of and I would love to be able to be experienced enough one day to conduct my own!