General / Reflections / Reviews

Be Selfish

By Madison Bennett, Guest Blogger

The number one way to take advantage of a public relations internship:

Remember to be selfish

Though some people in the office think you’re there to do their busy work, you’re not. You are there to work, and you are there to be helpful.

But above all, you’re there to learn.

The Good Grunt Work

  • Coffee runs
  • Running errands
  • These are quick and painless and build your street credit.

The Bad Grunt Work

  • Compiling Long Lists
  • Emailing
  • Things take a lot of time and prevent you from doing that the actually salaried employees don’t want to do.

Ask yourself: How will this benefit my career or educate me? If it doesn’t, get out of that project by lying about how busy you are.

Don’t let people take advantage of you because you’re an intern, but do make sure to impress the people writing your future job recommendations.

BACKGROUND: This summer, I was a media relations intern in the Corporate Communications Department at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland Clinic is the #4 best hospital in America, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Going into the internship, I was pretty intimidated. But as it turns out, the internship was similar to most public relations internships, just with some medical terminology thrown in. Day-to-day work included writing press releases, sending media alerts, composing Cleveland Clinic tweets, and blog research, and coffee runs.

The most valuable part of the internship was an independent project. Once I had done enough of the “good grunt work,” I thought of an idea to spruce up the Cleveland Clinic’s Twitter account, with the idea where we could hashtag Cleveland Clinic health tips as: #AtoZHealthTips. My fellow intern and I proposed the idea to the social media manager, who ran it by marketing, and they liked the idea. Over the summer, we created 52 tweets — two for each letter of the alphabet. The #AtoZHealthTips project was launched in August, and continues to this day.

An internship is all about what you make it. Even with a little bit of grunt work, you can gain invaluable experiences and resume-builders through projects like #AtoZHealthTips, and gain real-world experiences like writing press releases and researching new ways to incorporate social media. So remember: Be selfish. Work on projects that will benefit YOU.

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