When you hear the term "public relations," you either know what it is and love it, or you know what it is and find it absolutely annoying.
If you're the latter, you probably think of conniving people who strategize product placement and pitch to people nonstop. While that may be true for some, I’ve come to learn that it’s a pretty ball-busting field.
As a current student and intern at a fast-paced agency in NYC, I’ve learned more about myself as a professional and this career than all the other internships I’ve had combined into one.
If you’re looking to move to the city for a career in this field, below are some major tips, insider info and advice about how to make it -- or at least pretend like you’re making it. Try not to die in the process.
1. To-do lists help, but don’t expect to get everything done in one day. Do expect to anxiously rip your hair out as the hours run out. Wine after work helps.
2. Nobody likes a pitch that was obviously sent hastily. Make sure your subject line is typo-free, the XX’s are gone and your contact info is intact.
3. Public relations will seriously put your prioritizing skills to test. Line everything up by what needs to be done asap and what can wait for the next day.
4. Your media contacts list is the holy grail for yourself and your team. Make sure it’s as neat as it can be. Most of the time, the contacts won’t drastically change over time, so whatever you’ve created will basically be the Bible.
5. Excel sheets are your friend. Use these for sample tracking, media lists and just basically organizing your entire life as we know it.
6. As an intern, sample shipping is more than likely going to be your job. Make sure this is one of your top priorities for the day. Offices typically close at 5, so if you send something out at 4:30, you’re kind of screwed.
7. It can get nitty gritty. Public relations is not like what Lauren Conrad made it seem like on "The Hills."
Your biggest annoyance won’t be gathering models up during fashion shows, and your biggest dilemma probably won’t be choosing your boyfriend or a work trip to Paris (I’m still mad at you for this, LC). Expect to roll your sleeves up and go home every day with your eyes halfway closed.
8. Coffee is life.
9. You’re an intern, but don’t be a mere liaison between your agency and the media. Create relationships with these writers and editors and actively reach out to them. Yay, networking!
10. Be as meticulous and detail-oriented with research projects as possible. If you’re assigned a research project, make sure everything the executive would need to know is right there. Basically, no one should have to do additional research with your research. Duh.
11. Time is of the essence in PR. Every minute counts. Try your best to get to work at least 15 minutes early. That means if the F train is constantly running late for you, just leave your house at the crack of dawn and everything will be okay.
12. This tip pretty much goes for any female at any point in your life, but always pack a pair of flats if you’re wearing heels.
Packing up and mailing samples, running around the city and attending events will take a toll on your pretty little feet. Save yourself from future bunion surgery and pack a flat, girl.
13. Be proactive. During brainstorming meetings, try to put in your two cents. Look up good additional media for your clients if your team isn’t aware of it. Track media placements and get information in front of your team before they find it.
I hope this dandy list of advice for your public relations internship works well for you.
And, if you ever find yourself breaking down, just pretend Britney Spears is over your shoulder, constantly saying, “You better work, bitch.” This is creepy, but it works.