8 Internship Lessons, As told by The Office
As my first month of being a Paragon intern comes to a close, I feel as if I have already learned so much. There is a lot more that goes on in the day-to-day public relations world than I had thought and I can’t help but relate my experience to one of my favorite TV shows, ‘The Office.’
1. Coffee is vital to success.
While to some people, having to be at work by 8:30 a.m. may seem like an ideal time, as someone who hasn’t taken an 8 a.m. class since freshman year, it was a true wake-up call, pun intended. A cup (or 5) of coffee a day is key, and you definitely don’t want to waste any of it by trying to prove you can grab the mug with your feet, like Dwight.
2. Excel will be your new BFF.
Whether it’s compiling a media list, evaluating pivot tables for a client, or even just doing admin work, the relevance of excel can not be downplayed. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of public relations, as an intern it is definitely one of the most important tools to master. You soon will realize your relationship with Excel is an inseparable one, just like Jim and Pam’s.
3. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
When I first started working at Paragon, I didn’t know too much about financial PR and all of the lingo that went along with it. While no one wants to be the Kelly of the office, the truth is that for the most part the questions you are asking will be relevant and useful not only for yourself, but for your co workers as well. Always ask questions, especially when you need clarification or help on an assignment.
4. Deadlines are a real thing and they are very important.
In the PR world, timing is critical. Whether it’s ensuring an email gets sent to a reporter on time, submitting a press release or even just handing an assignment in to your boss, the deadlines are usually strict and tight. Even if the work you are doing is not directly being sent out to a client, it is still being used in some way to help out your team.
5. There is no ‘I’ in team.
Just like Pam, Angela and Phyllis came together for the sake of the Dunder Mifflin Party Planning Committee, your team will have to work together constantly to ensure the best results possible. By getting to work closely with others in the office, such as your CEO or a fellow intern, you get the chance to listen to other people’s ideas and it is an amazing learning opportunity.
6. Social Media is important.
Whether it’s working on social media tactics for a client or your company, knowing how to utilize social media is crucial. One of the most important things to keep in mind is brevity. Although Kevin was ridiculed for his overly abbreviated sentences, he had a great point. No one wants to waste time reading some long explanation or article when they could learn the same point in half the time. Simplicity = Success.
7. Be confident.
When starting at a new job, whether it be an internship or full-time position, it is easy to feel hesitant when it comes to sharing your ideas. However, what I’ve come to realize in my first month here is that confidence is key. Your ideas are valuable and more often than not will be a great addition to any project or assignment that you will work on. If you are in need of some self-confidence inspiration, Michael Scott is a perfect example of how to believe in yourself regardless of the circumstances.
8. Finally, don’t let yourself get too stressed out.
Working in an industry as fast-paced as PR, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate. For a lot of people, it is one of the first times having real responsibility apart from school assignments, and that can put a lot of pressure on people. Unless a coworkers legs come crashing through the ceiling, there is no need to act like Creed. Just remember that your team is there to help, and you’ll be able to get it done.
Whether you are an intern or have been in the workforce for a long time, these tips can always come in handy. In the words of Michael Scott himself, “Catch ya on the flippity flip”.
This blog was written by Paragon’s summer intern Haley Tole.
*UPDATE: Haley is now an Associate.