By Amy Mace
Starting as an intern at a PR agency was a slightly daunting prospect. I knew that a purely academic profile just wouldn’t cut it in the media world, and with minimal previous experience in a similar role, I wondered whether I’d be able to keep up.
Yet since starting at Purplefish I have realised that everybody needs to start somewhere, and internships are the perfect first step. Without the pressures or expectations that a straight-up full-time job might bring from the offset, the intern is there to learn, to listen, and to contribute as much as they are able. And not only do you know this as an intern, but your experienced colleagues know this too. My Purplefish colleagues have been endlessly patient and supportive, so although I’ve had to work hard, I have also been able to enjoy the learning process. As long as you give every task your best shot, the only way is up.
An important thing I’ve realised during my internship is that in this industry you need to be able to chat – and not just to your colleagues, but to important media contacts who may not be so keen to chat to you. It’s hard not to take over-the-phone abruptness too personally at first, but part of the creativity involved in this particular environment is being creative in the way you communicate. Confidence and conviction are vital, and are two qualities my internship rapidly fortified within me.
Variation in the working day is a great part of interning in PR. I have undertaken a huge variety of tasks for a vast range of clients, and have therefore learnt an unprecedented amount about the industry in a very short space of time. An internship will give you a great grounding in all the essential skills your industry requires, setting you up for that exciting first day in a permanent position and ensuring that you can totally handle it.
Also, this being a fast-paced, deadline and results-driven industry, the office can be busy and there can be lots happening at once. Meetings, briefings and general chit chat can all be going on whilst you’re trying to get your head down and write content, but this has been one of the most beneficial things about the job. I have learnt to multitask, I have learnt to focus amidst minor chaos, but most importantly I have been able to overhear and contribute to the conversations of experienced industry professionals, and be inspired by their knowledge and enthusiasm. Particularly noticeable to me has been colleagues’ unwavering ability to articulate themselves perfectly faced with any situation or client. The game face is always on!
I can confidently say that interning is a great way to start a creative career. The work experience is invaluable in building self-confidence and getting a practical idea of what you’re getting yourself into, making the future job search clearer and more focused (and yourself more marketable). It is also a smart way to get your foot on the ladder of a creative career without feeling like you’re going to then be racing up it full pelt without the chance to step off and reflect. An internship offers a unique opportunity to ease yourself into the world of work, and gets you inspired and prepared for all that that world will demand in future.