Naggins & Notions

My step by step guide to interning!

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve done three internships in the field of Public Relations/Marketing. During these internships I’ve had friends and people who follow me on Instagram/Snapchat ask me how I got these internships and what advice would I have for someone looking to start doing internships. Rather than reply the exact same thing to people in individual messages, I figured it’d be best to do one big post on my experience to date here.
Before I begin, I need to stress that any of the following comments I make are not a reflection on/aimed at any of the places I’ve interned in. These comments are about the whole concept of internships in general.
Why look for an internship?
When I was looking into my current marketing programme with the aim of getting into PR with it, I had literally no idea what an internship was. I was then told by a very helpful person in the industry that you will more than likely have to do internships for a good few years before you get offered a permanent job by an employer. As soon as I heard this, I decided to look up PR company’s in Dublin and immediately sent emails to them.
Tip number one: Time 
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Look up any marketing awards that have either happened or are coming up. On the award ceremony’s website, it will say what are the nominees for the awards and what PR company’s are responsible for them. The awards that I used were the An Post Smart Marketing Awards .Once I found the list of company’s, I then decided that I’d be smart about how I used my time and use my summers (I wasn’t doing exams and wasn’t working at the time) to complete internships so I would have to do less after I have a degree.
Tip number two: Research
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Do your research. Study the agency’s website and gather as much information as you can on them and their clients. For some bizarre reason, many agency’s don’t list their clients on their websites. To find out their client list, look them up on Instagram and they will usually mention some if not all of their clients. This grade A creeping will help you see the kind of work they’ve done and is a great thing to mention in an interview (whether it be for an internship or permanent job). Find out the names of the people who work there and who set up the business. This’ll come in handy later on down the line.
Tip number three: Appearance
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Be presentable. Always and I mean ALWAYS look your best when going to an interview whether it’s for something for you to have enough money to sesh (why else would anyone 18-20 want a minimum wage job??) or interviewing for your dream job ALWAYS dress professionally even though PR is quite a casual place NEVER wear jeans to an interview.
How to apply:
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Agency’s will often have an ‘info@companyname.ie’ email address. This account will be the general one for the agency and will have numerous emails being sent to it on a daily basis. During your research you’ll have found out who set up the agency. When you send them your C.V simply put ‘FAO founders name’ as the subject line of the email so it’ll find its way to this person
If you’re applying for your first internship and have no experience in the area of PR don’t worry. My first email I sent was the following:
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When you’ve no experience and applying to an agency you need to have your shit together. They don’t HAVE to hire you especially when you’ve no experience. Sell your personality and your skills and tell them WHY they should hire you.
When you get the internship
-Be organised
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First things first. Buy a pen and notebook. This way you can note who told you to do what, when and when it’s due for. You’re an intern so it’s unlikely you’ll be tasked with doing something on your own. You’re an intern so you’ll be helping out in existing tasks.
-Be Helpful
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Always and I mean ALWAYS offer to do things. If , by some miracle, you find yourself with nothing to do , ask the others in the office/ your section and see if they need help with anything even if it’s something as small as sourcing tissue paper or making tea/coffee for the office/your section. This eagerness and willingness won’t go unnoticed and will benefit you in the long run
-Prioritise
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When you’re an intern in an agency, you’ll be working on more than one task at a time. In fact, you’ll be working on one and have another one given to you while you’re still getting through the first one. The trick is to use that notebook I mentioned and prioritise. If your first task is something like inputting figures into an excel document (its torture but needed for various things within PR) and the second is pricing the rental of a venue for an upcoming event, do the pricing first as it won’t take you as long as the excel document.
-Ask questions
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If you’re unsure about anything , just ask. The agency know you’re not an expert in the field so always ask if you’re unsure of something as there may be an easier way of doing something rather than the way you’re doing something.
Now for some real talk…
For the most part internships are an amazing experience. I’ve had some amazing experiences which I wrote about here . I also gained valuable experience working with high-end/premium brands which will look amazing on a CV when going to apply for jobs once I’ve finished college. You get invited to events and develop friendships and network with people in the industry and to me, this networking is VITAL in a country as small as Ireland as at the end of the day, it’s not WHAT you know but WHO you know. It’s because of these internships that I’ve developed relationships within the industry which will help me along the way.
Even though I need to rely on internships, I don’t necessarily agree with all aspects of them. Most internships I’ve come across in Ireland are unpaid or are dressed up to be this super amazing job opportunity for someone just out of college but the reality? They want your skills to do a full days work without paying you. You’d be lucky if they give you expenses to cover things such as travel or lunch.
In my opinion, internships should be governed as they’re basically glorified slave labour. I was very lucky to have the support of my parents when I needed money especially when I left my job to intern as my manager wanted more hours from me and I wasn’t prepared to take time out of something that would help me excel in my future career for a dead-end retail job…  The government should put legislation in place that protects interns as technically you’re not an employee so you don’t have to sign a contract so you’re not protected under any of the existing employment laws.
I hope the above tips helped you and answered any questions you’ve got about internships. If you’ve any questions feel free to DM me on Instagram and I’ll do my best to help you out!
Conor xoxo
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