I recently transitioned from intern to full-time hire at Ketchum. This did not come easily. But the best things in life never come easy, do they?
There have been various posts on the Culpwrit on how to make the leap from intern to full-time hire, but I want to share some of the things I believe helped me stand out as an intern that lead to my full-time job at the agency.
1. Dedicate yourself and your time
I’m not saying you have to work 12-hour days, but at the intern level, this is a great way to show commitment to your teams, projects and clients.
Get to the office earlier than your team and provide timely updates on your assignments. Get as many items checked off your to-do list as you can. This will highlight your work productivity to your managers and to members of leadership teams.
I once got a really nice email from the Director of Ketchum Midwest thanking me for staying late into the evening to finish up a project. Give every task 100%. You never know who’s keeping an eye on you and your work.
2. Go beyond what is expected of you
When delivering a project to your manager, always think to yourself: what can I do to make finalizing this assignment easier for my supervisor?
This may sound redundant, but make sure that all grammar and spelling is correct. Evaluate each sentence to ensure the message can be read and understood easily.
Compile everything into a client-ready format so your manager doesn’t have to. It’s easy to get lazy with the small stuff. People who work in PR are always busy, so being mindful and thoughtful of their time is key.
After 3 months into my internship, I was able to draft lengthy media updates to one of my clients, which helped my boss tremendously. Because of my close attention to detail in my monitoring, my manager asked me to help with organizing activity reports for billing clients. I was even able to communicate directly with one of my clients over the phone because I had constantly proven to my team that I could work under pressure.
Once you get in the habit of going above and beyond little projects, people will notice and appreciate your work more.
3. Be proactive
If you see something interesting in your monitoring, flag it to the team. Set up Google alerts for competitors and look for relevant trends. Speak up in meetings and share your ideas. Contribute your thoughts in brainstorms, even if you’re not feeling confident with your answers.
Do as much as you can to get people to notice you. Initiate conversations with coworkers you may not have met yet and offer your help.
Before I left the office every evening, I would ask people if they needed me to do anything before I left. Don’t limit this to just your teammates; offer your help to people you may not work with on a daily basis. Again, you never know who may be keeping tabs on you at work. It’s crucial to earn peoples’ trust, so make yourself irreplaceable by proactively showing you care and proving you’re a reliable asset to the company.
I mentioned this in my last guest post, but I have to bring it up again. As an intern, networking within the company is so important in making yourself stand out. If you see a great media placement for one of the accounts at your office, shoot that team a congratulatory email. Ask people how their days are going, and always offer your help. Ask your VP to get coffee one morning or put 15 minutes on your Account Supervisor’s calendar to chat about work. How are people going to know you want to stay with the agency if you don’t voice it? Build relationships with important people around you so that when the conversation comes up about hiring interns, they have your back and will support your application.
5. Keep a positive attitude
I think this is one of the most important qualities to have when working in PR business. This industry can be stressful and very fast-paced, so it’s important to show you can take control of the work assigned to you.
Always smile and get excited when someone tasks you with something, even if the assignment isn’t ideal. Know your place. Almost everyone starts out as an intern, and you have to prove you are able to handle the basics every day.
Learn how to take constructive criticism and understand that it isn’t anything personal. Nothing is worse than having to deal with a moody intern.
It’s not all about providing quality work. In order to land yourself a job at your agency, people have to want to work with you every day. Don’t worry; be happy!
Timing and budget are big factors when it comes to hiring interns at agencies. Those are things that are out of your control, so it’s important to focus on the things you can influence. At the end of the day, you have to love your job. If you truly enjoy what you do, it will resonate in your work and in your attitude. Make yourself irreplaceable so that your teammates and supervisors can’t imagine losing you from the company.
I’m a firm believer in not giving up. If you work hard, the right people will notice and you’ll find your place in the workforce.
Jasmine Boaler works in the Food and Wellness department at Ketchum. She recently transitioned from interning at Ketchum Chicago to becoming a full-time hire at Ketchum New York. Jasmine graduated from Ohio University in 2010 where she majored in Journalism. Her first Culpwrit guest post appeared this summer.