Wow. Has this girl got an impressive PR internship CV or what?
Emma Bedson, 20, currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) at RMIT, graduating in October this year.
Top boss at a consumer PR agency. Or perhaps Founder/Director of my own PR agency. The possibilities are endless…
You’ve had a busy interning life over the past year, tell us about your internships
Two Birds Talking
My first internship was at Two Birds Talking. I was the typical PR intern -running coffees, media kit packing, phone handling, booking and receiving couriers, editorial monitoring, database updates and so on. I assisted on a couple of events for Kookai and Nike. Whilst I liaised between their Melbourne and Sydney office during this internship, I had a chance to work at Two Birds Talking’s Sydney office as a fill-in PR co-ordinator. I hit the ground running at that time working directly on Kookai and Lovisa. If there is anything that I got from Two Birds Talking, it was MEDIA IS KING.
One Green Bean
Throughout the first half of 2012, I confirmed an internship with One Green Bean. I saved up for six months to pay for accommodation, flights and living expenses to intern full time with One Green Bean. During this time I prepared press kits and coverage reports, assisted with the production of events and performed admin and ad hoc office duties. I worked on a number of clients such as IKEA, Dunlop Volleys, Virgin Mobile and CBA. One Green Bean definitely showed me the difference between Melbourne and Sydney based PR.
I interned with Undertow Media briefly before going to Sydney last year. On my return, I came back as a contractor to assist their account co-ordinator on Mt Hotham, Kathmandu, Tupperware and Domaine Chandon. It was at Undertow Media where I learnt what the role of a junior PR professional is really like. I pitched to media on a daily basis, refined my writing skills, contributed to campaigns, proposals, brainstorms and meetings. I was also responsible for account administration & reporting, which inspired me to write my third year undergraduate thesis on PR measurement and evaluation.
This has been my most recently internship. Having vast industry experience prior to Mango, the team delegated tasks to me not usually given to interns. I worked across a number consumer accounts creating, pitching and following up media materials. I secured multiple pieces of coverage both in print and online. I spent an extra week at Mango working with their social media team to create content and see how social media runs within a PR agency.
What was it about working at a Sydney based PR company that attracted you?
I researched a lot of agencies in line with the area of PR I’m interested in. Most of them are based in Sydney so I emailed a couple of dream agencies for an internship placement. I have previously lived in Sydney and have friends who live up there so making the temporary move up there was more exciting and thrilling than daunting. I loved the entire experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. Moving up to Sydney permanently after I graduate is high on my to-do list.
How did you juggle university course work and paid work while interning?
It’s challenging but it can be done. I wrote a lot of to-do lists and time management was crucial. I will admit there were more than a few all-nighters to get the assignments done but I managed to juggle it all. In fact, I actually prefer the adrenaline rush. It makes you more accountable to your tasks and there is no room procrastination.
What was your most valuable internship experience so far and why?
My time at Undertow Media was the most valuable experience, especially when I was contracted to assist one of their juniors.
I immediately felt part of the team the minute I stepped into the office. I gained a strong sense of responsibility and accountability for everything that was thrown at me. My time management skills were definitely tested (a crucial skill to master so I advise to get on top of it ASAP). Nonetheless, I completed tasks with a passion because I wanted to prove to myself and my colleagues I could handle agency life.
Undertow Media taught me so much about the industry and how to operate in PR. I recommend Undertow Media to anyone interested in a PR internship, I would safely say they have one of the best internship programs around.
Tell us about your favourite client pitch you got to work on and what you learnt from it
McDonald’s has been one of my favourite accounts to work on. I really got to own a project where I wrote media material, pitched to journalists and secured multiple pieces of coverage. I was able to learn how to develop relationships with journalists (a true love-hate relationship) and refine my writing skills. It was so rewarding seeing coverage and knowing you had some input in making that happen.
What’s next for you?
I don’t have any internships confirmed for the near future but you never know what’s around the corner. Right now I’m focusing on completing my thesis and graduating but I’m sure I’ll slip in a few more placements before graduating.
Emma shares her advice for other aspiring PR pros;
There have been so many quotes to get me through my interning ‘journey’. My mum told me this quote just before cold calling an agency and it has resonated with me ever since:
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it.” – We Bought A Zoo
For anything you want to achieve, it’s always going to be ‘no’ until you ask. No matter how whimsical your ambitions may be, throw yourself into the deep end and you never know what may come out of it.
Today on My Interning Life, Master of Communications student, Stephanie Hume, says that persistence, hard work and self-belief are key to having success while undertaking internships.
That’s a tough one as I feel I change my mind constantly, as new avenues from things I read and hear about always inspire me. However, I think it’s wise to have a few ideas and to be flexible at the same time.
Nonetheless, I’d love to get some experience in an agency such as Ogilvy or Edelman and then work in the marketing department of the NGV or the theatre’s of London or New York or even for film production companies like The Weinstein Company. It’s really quite endless. That’s what I love about PR I have so many ideas and industries I want to pursue.
Tell us about your internship experiences
My first break was at Mango Communications, which is part of the DDB network. After un-enrolling from a post-grad course that really wasn’t my thing I rang up Mango that exact same day and asked if they offered internships.
Coincidentally they needed one week to fill as their current intern was going to be away. I believe this moment was the universe extending me a slice of opportunity pie.
My week there was a dream. I was exposed to a bunch of hard-working, talented and friendly individuals and given real responsibility to coordinate coverage with the media for their client, Disney.
After getting into my course mid-year I finally found motivation to pursue internship opportunities elsewhere. I have been fortunate enough to spend a week at CHE Proximity part of Clemenger, three months at The United Nations Global Cities Programme and just before Christmas I spent a month full time at Red Agency’s Melbourne office.
It’s been an amazing 6 months and I’m still excited about what 2013 will hold.
Tell us about the the ripe and what you do
The Ripe is a music website started by Huw Nolan and Tom Pitney. It was launched last February and is supported by writers, photographers, videographers and editors. We review band’s work and provide media coverage of festivals and concerts in Melbourne. It’s been a great tool for us all young to contribute to our portfolio and we’ve also become really great friends too.
I am one of their writers and also do PR work for them on the side. It’s enabled me to keep up my writing and as there are talented writers onboard it keeps me motivated to constantly improve and find original ways of expressing myself.
It’s our first birthday this February 14th at The Workers Club. We’ve locked in City Calm Down, Collarbones and Panama to play there. It’s going to be so much fun. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short time.
What has been the most important lesson you learnt while interning?
Persistence, hard work and self-belief are the three big things for me. There are times when I was overwhelmed with how much work I was given. I just had to breathe in and acknowledge that being nervous or unsure of myself was what happened to everyone in new experiences and when you are constantly thrown into new experiences it happens more often. There really is no reason why anyone should be self-doubting as we are capable of pretty amazing things.
Persistence pays off in bucket loads too. At one of my internships I spent most of my time developing a media report and had to call up pretty much every media outlet in the country for information the client needed. Its enormity was overwhelming but I just kept on putting on a brave face and calling those numbers and people eventually got back to me and I even formed a few relationships in the process. Persistence and hard work cannot be substituted.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Giving myself space is key and researching new music to review is a good distress. I do love spending time with my parents too. My favourite thing to do during semester is staying in on Saturday night and having dinner with them and then watching a movie. Bliss. Other than that I love reading and seeing my friends. Looking after my health is a big thing and the only way I get through how much I put on my plate. I can’t take big nights out anymore.
How do you juggle interning, course work, paid work, and having a life?
Last semester all I did was uni work, interning and saw my family and added socialising in sometimes if I had the chance.
I did an Arts degree at The University of Melbourne before my Masters and didn’t put as much of my heart into it. I’m being a massive nerd but I am absolutely loving it all and the opportunity to learn again. Plus my course only goes for a year and a half so I’m happy to make sacrifices now if it means I have a better chance of securing a job on graduating.
Stephanie shares her advice
You can check out all of Stephanie’s work on The Ripe and connect with her on Twitter.
It really is a no brainer. Do as much as you can. Email, call them up, search places online that are of interest and just put yourself out there for an internship, a week’s work experience, or even to meet up for a coffee to discuss their role.
You can’t expect a potential employer to give you a shot if you merely have a university degree. Experience in the industry is just as much an indicator of dedication to a career as it is a catalyst for personal growth.
It’s just a matter of starting somewhere. I’ve emailed places or called them before and received a stern ‘no’. But you can’t get put off by ‘no’ from one, two or three people. You’ve got to put things in perspective and realise the bigger goals and aspirations you are trying to achieve to motivate yourself to keep on calling and emailing.
Make the most of it whilst you are at university too. As whilst I wasn’t enrolled at RMIT, despite my enthusiasm and people liking my writing they wouldn’t take me on as I wasn’t covered by insurance that your university will cover. And if you are lacking inspiration go onto Pinterest’s quote boards. My, the time I waste on there. Good Luck.
Today’s featured intern is PR student, Clair White.
Clair White, 21, studying a Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) at RMIT University, graduating at the end of this year.
I’m still not sure, but media relations for a sports club in a national league is at the top of my list at the moment.
Tell us about how you scored your internship experience in the Victoria Police Media Unit.
My internship coordinator sends emails to everyone in my course when internships arise. She sent out an email about a four week internship at VicPol and I thought I’d give it a go. I sent off my resume, had an interview and got the position.
What did you do on a daily/weekly basis?
My position in the unit varied depending on which team I was working with, as there are two sections of the media unit: proactive and reactive.
The majority of my time was spent in proactive. In this team, public relations issues are broken down into portfolios, with each of the full time staff members responsible for different portfolios. Some of the portfolios include: road policing, public transport and specialist support (air wing, water police, mounted branch, dog squad, Public Order Response Team, etc). The job of the proactive team is to gain media attention for issues VicPol want covered. This can include launches of new initiatives, blitzes and campaigns. The proactive team also work closely with prominent feature writers to collaborate on stories relating to their portfolios.
During my time in the proactive unit, I was ‘thrown in the deep end’ as they are quite understaffed. I relished the responsibility though, as this allowed me to do work that was actually needed, rather than just ‘intern work’ that was created for me.
Some of the more interesting things I got to do in the proactive media team included: media releases (including pitching to regional, metropolitan and major print, TV and radio), organising and attending press conferences, visiting 3AW’s Neil Mitchell program and ABC 774’s Jon Faine program with Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, writing a police member profile piece for the Herald Sun Career Expo guide and liaising with police members and media on a state-wide initiative in conjunction with V-Line.
I was also given several administrative tasks in the proactive team. These included collating daily regional press clippings (through media monitors), daily road policing clippings, monthly coverage reports (e.g. PSOs) and creating/updating divisional media contact lists.
I was also given great responsibility during my time in the reactive team. The reactive team deal with major current news issues relating to VicPol. All of the police coverage on nightly news, in major newspapers and on radio source their information from the reactive team.
Unlike the proactive office which is displayed in a traditional setting, the reactive unit is a much more collaborative environment. Instead of separate cubicles, team members in reactive sit along a long desk, with one supervisor overseeing all staff. From these stations, we field media enquiries from journalists from all over the country.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned while at Vic police media?
During my internship, two major lessons kept popping up.
- Get the basics down – you need to have your writing and communications skills on lock. Whether it’s a simple email to a colleague or a phone call to a journalist, you need to know what you’re saying, why you’re saying it and how you’re going to say it.
- You can’t anticipate media attention – some days I’d have stories that I thought we get heaps of attention and some that I didn’t think would get any coverage and it was those little stories that turned into bigger events. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill – you don’t have to send out a press release for every little thing. Go with the flow and deal with media attention as it comes to you.
You’re in your final semester at uni, what are your plans for 2013?
It’s so exciting. The idea of no more homework or timetabling is equal parts ridiculously exhilarating and terrifying. I’ve applied for an internship with a US not-for-profit organisation called To Write Love On Her Arms. They exist to promote help and provide hope to those dealing with addiction, selfy injury, depression and suicide. If I get the position, I’ll be in the States from mid-January to early May. After that is up to future Clair! Presumably, I’ll come home and find a ‘grown up job’. All I can hope for is that it’s something I’m passionate about, as I wholeheartedly prescribe to the notion that if you love what you’re doing, you won’t work a day in your life.
How did you juggle uni, interning, paid work and having a social life?
Very precariously. All I can say is that you can never underestimate that value of a good support network. Those days when you come home and you’re that frazzled you try to use your myki to get cash out and can’t really remember how you got into your pajamas, they’re the days where you just have to love and appreciate those around you who are wiling to help you out.
Will you do more interning?
I’m a work experience junkie – I love the stuff! I’ve helped on PR events, spent time at a boutique fashion/lifestyle agency, done social media and comms for a not-for-profit and shadowed some of Melbourne’s best PR practitioners.
I believe that we never stop learning and whether my future holds more internships or not, I know that there are so many things that I am yet to experience professionally. I am however, really interested in gaining some more experience in sporting organisations and media outlets themselves.
Clair shares her advice
While you may think the big bad world of media is scary, it’s made up of people who have come from the exact place you are currently. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t think that just because you’re young means that you can’t contribute. Listen to and learn from those around you. It sounds so corny, but if there’s something that you want/a place you want to intern at/someone you want to talk to – make it happen. You can do it.
You can follow Clair on Twitter.