Check out the August issue of Girlfriend magazine to read the article, ‘Confessions of an intern’ which includes the interview Claire Starkey conducted with me.
Recently featured PR pro and Communicado Account Executive, Stephanie Bateman, has offered this exclusive internship to My Interning Life readers.
– PR student who also has an interest in social media.
– The work is predominantly PR based, but the agency is moving more and more into the digital space so it’s important that the applicant is keen to get exposure in that area.
– The internship will likely be one day a week, potentially more dependent on what is happening in the office.
This is your chance to learn from one of the professionals of the PR industry and get your foot in the door. Please attach a cover letter and copy of your resume in your application to Stephanie. If you need some tips with writing a cover letter please refer to our FAQs page.
Contact: Stephanie Bateman
Stephanie Bateman is an account executive at Communicado in Melbourne working across a range of clients in the entertainment, tech and lifestyle space, in traditional PR as well as digital content and community management. She loves the dynamic nature of life in an agency, as well as the group of thoroughly talented people she goes to work with every day.
Stephanie graduated Victoria University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations), and spent the last 18 months of her studies interning in the corporate affairs department at Citipower & Powercor as a media relations assistant, and considers this the most valuable experience she had at university. Stephanie was inspired to get chase a career in PR by her god father who worked in the industry, and Stephen Fry’s character in ‘Absolute Power’.
It’s no secret that PR is a tough industry to crack, but it’s far from impossible. The questions I’m most frequently asked by students and recent graduates always relates to what it’s like once you’ve landed that first job. These are my top five tips on how to navigate the experience when you’re starting out.
1. Put your hand up
Regardless of whether you’re working in an agency or in house, no doubt you’re part of an organisation that has plenty going on. So when the opportunity to be involved in a new project or a new client looks like it might be on the table – go for it. It’s easy to second guess yourself and say ‘I’m not ready for that’ or ‘that isn’t in my skill set’. But you know what? You’ll probably never feel ‘ready’ and it will never be in your skill set unless you take the opportunity to learn. The best learning experience is in the doing, not the watching.
2. Expect to pay your dues (probably forever)
Generally speaking, coffee making and photocopying ends when your internship does, but you will still spend a fair amount of time building media lists, filing, researching, and reporting. In PR (especially in the world of agency) you will find a refreshing quality – no one is really ever ‘above’ a task. Whether you’re an Account Director with ten years under your belt, or 2 weeks into your career, if it has to be done, do it. In my short career I’ve driven a truck, bought jeans and hair product for a celebrity, and delivered paint and furniture to photo shoots. Did I ever think that would be in my job description? No. But I quickly learned my job description reads: whatever it takes.
3. Ask for advice
Your first job is no less of a learning experience than your time at university was, and your colleagues can be amazing teachers. Remember that everyone you work for was once sitting where you are, and they almost always want to help you. Ask to have your writing critiqued; ask if you can run your pitch by them before you send it to a journalist (or your boss).
4. Take criticism
But don’t take it personally. Because you’re going to get it whether you want it or not, so you may as well take it with the best attitude you can. It can be tough not to take it to heart, and we all do it sometimes, but once you recognise that it will serve to make you a better writer, speaker, or improve your pitches you’ll start asking for it.
5. Be Yourself
PR people are a certain type. We like to talk, we’re not shy, and we’re often described as ‘big personalities’. There’s a reason you chose this career. It’s probably because you couldn’t not choose it. Maybe it chose you. Being a wallflower will get you exactly nowhere in this industry. You’ll be surprised how what you’re passionate about personally can help you out in your career. Never underestimate the value of knowing stuff that no one else knows. You never know when some random geeky knowledge you’re hanging onto could be the missing part of a new business pitch.
PR is a demanding and sometimes all-consuming job. It’s a job you do for love not money (sorry). But it is job that will reward your competitive streak, push you to constantly improve and give you experiences you can’t have doing anything else. And why would you want to?
You can follow Stephanie on Twitter.
Just a small update on what I’ve been doing over the past couple of months. I graduated with a Bachelor of Media Studies (Journalism) in May and have recently begun a new adventure at yet another Aussie sport organisation.
In March I began working as communications coordinator at Netball Australia covering a maternity vacancy. It’s been a different transition from intern to full time employee, however I’ve immensely enjoyed my time there. Sadly my contract ended at Netball Australia at the end of June.
When I reflect on the projects I’ve worked on over the past few months, I’m really proud of how I’ve helped rejuvinate Netball Australia and Australian Diamonds various social media platforms. It has been tough at times creating content during the ‘off season’ (the Diamonds only go on tour for about one month of the year) but I’ve worked with what I was given and my job was made easier as the ANZ Championship was in full swing during my contract.
I always was aware of my ‘deadline’ during my time at Netball Australia was coming to a close as each week passed by, however a spanner was thrown into the works about six weeks before my contract was up. The person whom I was replacing had announced their resignation and was moving on. This meant their job as digital communications manager was now up for grabs.
But life as always has other plans.
My ex-university lecturer from my sport journalism class gave me a call one day asking about my job at Netball Australia and how I was going. I told him about my time there and how there was now a vacancy but they were looking for someone with more experience. My lecturer said, ‘well, let’s get you out of there’ and proceeded to tell me about an opportunity at Hockey Victoria. My lecturer told me how he was only putting me up for this job as communcations coordinator because I had always stayed on line with where I wanted to go in my career.
To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. I knew that a lot of my classmates were relying on this particular lecturer to get them jobs in the sports industry because of their connections. I’m so greatful that I was the sole person who was recommended for the job.
After a few emails with the CEO from Hockey Victoria, Ben Hartung, I ended up being interviewed by him and two other employees. Or should I say ‘chat’ as Ben wanted it to be more of a chat about me and my experiences to see if I was the right person for the job.
I was offered the job a few days later and Ben asked me to discuss it with my boss, Karen Phelan, as I was still applying for the job at Netball Australia. My chat with my Karen was one that helped me decided where I would go. Karen was completely honest with me and said the person who had resigned was having second thoughts and she had given them until Friday to change their mind. I only had until Wednesday to tell Hockey Victoria my decision but I knew hockey was the best position for me.
So it is with much delight (and some nerves) that I will be commencing a new role as communications coordinator at Hockey Victoria in July.
I’ll also be making some steps towards changing My Interning Life into a fully fledged website with the help of Mildred & Duck.
By Stephanie Hume.
The life of an intern involves a journey of highs and at times many lows. At some stage you will feel lost, feel like you have a lack of direction, and go through periods of doubting yourself and your career path. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to have a positive and supportive network to help you navigate through the difficult times.
As an intern, I personally have required the support of friends and family to help me with putting together applications, prepping for interviews, overcoming anxiety in new work environments, dealing with rejection, and even harder decisions, like letting go of an opportunity for another one. As strong as I know we all are, a supportive network makes us even stronger.
However, what makes us stronger again is a positive, helpful and generous peer network. There have been times when my peers, who are pursuing the same or related careers as me, have been given opportunities when I have not. It’s natural to be envious. However, I learnt early on in my intern journey to remain supportive and celebrate their wins as much as my own. Through this commitment I have developed stronger and more beneficial connections with friends and new ones. I have a tight group of friends that make me an even stronger individual, that are genuinely happy for me and have my back at any moment. The world of PR, journalism, media, advertising and marketing are very competitive, however, I believe this is exactly the reason to band together as a team and help each other out.
Below are some tips to cultivate your own garden of nurture and support:
– Let your friend or contact know of an opportunity you saw that they might be interested in applying for.
– Cultivate some peer group love by making a habit of helping where you can and championing your friends.
– Be genuine in congratulating them and celebrate with them in their successes.
– Hold their hand or wipe away their tears when they are feeling down about how their journey is going.
– Be honest with your peers about when you are applying for an opportunity you think they may have or had in the past. The sooner the better, rather than when you’ve already started. They’ll appreciate your honesty and it will strengthen the bond of your team.
– Support others in their career navigation. Our journey is cyclical, some days we win some days we lose.
– Be gracious in your own wins, but don’t feel you have to hide your happiness or celebration of a new opportunity. If you can’t celebrate happiness with friends where can you?
– Offer to proofread job applications, cv’s or cover letters and help with mock interviews. It not only helps out your friend, but also you get the chance to see how other people approach applying for a job.
– Continue to interact with people that cannot be happy for you or who try to bring you down. They honestly are not worth the drama or energy.
– Make snide remarks or gossip about how your friend doesn’t deserve the opportunity that you didn’t get. You’re losing out on more than an internship or job, you’re potentially losing a friend who has loved and supported you.
– Let defeat get you down, keep on applying and getting in touch with places you want to intern at and one day soon you’ll have your own chance to celebrate.
What other tips would you add that have worked in the past for you?
All the best in your own journey fellow interns! x