Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Monday Morning Intern: advice to the future me

Posted by thecastlegroup on August 24, 2009

We asked our summer PR intern, Emily Grund, to write a weekly column talking about her internship experience at The Castle Group. This is Emily’s last post as she heads back to college. Thanks Emily for your great insights! Hopefully you’ll return to the blog with interesting comments and observations on future posts. 

Eight blog posts and three months later, my time at The Castle Group is coming to an end. It has been quite the interesting summer overall: record breaking bad weather in June, multiple celebrity deaths including Michael Jackson, Red Sox drama, and of course my broken foot.

My injury caused me to miss out on a lot of summer activities such as the beach and road trips to visit friends on weekends, but thankfully I did not miss out on my internship. During a time of difficult change and adjustment, having this internship has been the one consistent part of my life. I greatly appreciate the patience and support that has been shown to me here. Despite not being able to do all the tasks I once did (mail distributing, photocopying, office organizing), I was still able to focus on numerous projects that taught me a lot about being a PR professional.

Looking back on past blog posts, it is clear that I have had a well-rounded learning experience. From social media strategies and blogging, to adjusting to change and balancing responsibility, the lessons learned have been diverse and essential for my future. Many of my post topics might have been old news to PR professionals, but being able to reiterate what I have learned each week allowed everything to truly sink in, and hopefully shed some light from a different perspective.

Before I go, I’d like to share some advice to future interns whether they intern here or elsewhere.

Observe everything. I learned a lot just by listening to what was going on around me. Small interactions about a client can give you an insight of what’s going on and how it’s being done, even if you’re not part of that particular project. I also observed professional phone conversations, employee attitudes and office routines. I could have just done my assignments and blocked out everything else, but by keeping my eyes and ears open I got to know the company well and discovered useful skills and etiquette despite whether or not I had to directly utilize them.

Be efficient. It is common knowledge that as an intern you will have some tedious work. A lesson I learned early on was I could make it more challenging by finding the most efficient way to get it done even if there wasn’t a crucial deadline. Not only was I getting through the project quicker, I was discovering shortcuts in programs such as Excel that I can use at other jobs or even personally. While experimenting to find the best way to get projects completed successfully, I also learned lessons in problem solving and time management.

Absorb everything. If you get a project to research a client’s competitor, you could just do the search and make the list. Instead, I recommend actually reading the coverage. That way, you can learn about a competitor’s strategy by comparing it to the client’s and understand what the competition is really about. Making the most of each project and learning something useful from it will make the experience more valuable and more interesting. If you’re going through the motions, it will be just another list that you will forget about once you leave. When others say “make the most of your internship”, they mean it.  

Aside from what I did on my own to enhance my internship experience, I would have never had the great experience I did without all the fabulous people at The Castle Group. Even after a few short months here, I feel part of the team and I will be sad to go. Thanks to everyone here for all your help!

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One Response to “Monday Morning Intern: advice to the future me”

  1. BJ Roche said

    Emily,

    I have enjoyed reading your work this summer, and linking to it from my Journalism Launchpad blog.

    You’ve provided some excellent insights into the internship process for your fellow students.

    And, as always, thanks to Sandy and Wendy for their great support of UMass students. They are great role models in so many ways.

    BJ Roche

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