My first five months in brand communications

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A communications internship is a brilliant way to gain hands-on experience of life in a fast-paced, changing industry. It’s a time to put your knowledge to the test and start developing a strong, practical skillset.

Media relations, content writing, and event planning will always have a place in a communications strategy, but at PR360, I’ve learned an integrated approach that incorporates experiential, social media and digital communications is what delivers results for brands trying to reach their target audience.

It’s important to do your research and choose a communications agency that’s the right fit for you. Find somewhere where you feel you will gain the most experience and where your work investment will be matched.

Thinking about starting a career in brand communications? Here’s what you need to know.  

1.   Step outside of your comfort zone

Always maintain a positive attitude and be open to trying new things. Actually doing something is the best way to learn something new, even if you do make some mistakes along the way.

You’ll better yourself as a professional if you’re open and opportunistic in this industry. If you feel that you would enjoy helping someone on a project that is completely new to you, put your hand up and demonstrate the skills you have.

The past five months have taught me that you learn by doing, and your colleagues and clients will appreciate your assistance.

2.   Network

As a brand communications intern, you’ll be working with many different clients in diverse industries. This makes for an interesting and varied workload.

I’ve learned that building relationships with relevant media, influencers and suppliers is a critical part of the job, and always will be.  

When you’re starting out, find time once a week to meet someone new. Adding value to every meeting is important, so I always come armed with a new story or opportunity.  

3.    Ask questions

Always ask questions if you are unsure about anything—one question to a colleague makes all the difference.  

Asking questions not only avoids time wasting, but improves your learning process and the quality and consistency of your work.

It’s a small thing that makes a big difference. Starting out as you mean to go on and forming good habits is important.

4.    Showcase your skills

Passion and drive, teamed with intelligent communications, delivers every time. When you’re good at something, let your colleagues know about it. If you’re working with the right agency, they’ll make sure your skills can be put to use.  

Be open to trying new things but always play to your strengths and aim to make an impact. Demonstrating your worth will create more opportunities down the line: your clients will approach you for knowledge and opinions, enabling you to develop as a PR professional.

5.    Think in days and weeks, never hours

The most important skill an intern can learn is time management. Like I said before, communications is a fast-paced profession, so staying on track with timelines is essential.

Working in days and weeks ensures you have a clear weekly and daily timeline with a future view of deadlines. This helps you to avoid the last-minute rush. Colleagues and clients appreciate organisation and you'll make sure all your deadlines are met.