Published on May 14, 2018, at 10:01 a.m.
by Elizabeth Driver.
As the semester comes to a close, many public relations students are preparing for their summer internships. There is a lot to do in the next month, such as finalizing housing plans, shopping for professional attire and completing on-boarding paperwork.
Last summer I worked for Alabama Power Company’s Western Division office as a PR intern. My internship was one of the most valuable experiences of my college career. Here are a couple things upcoming corporate PR interns can expect:
Study, study, study
When I began my internship in May, my only experience with Alabama Power’s internal operations was my work with Capstone Agency. I quickly realized that I only knew a small portion of the business’s operations and initiatives. I spent the next few weeks studying everything from available renewable energy programs and power plant generation processes to the company’s customer service practices and state history.
In order to accurately communicate on behalf of a company, corporate communicators have to understand how their organization operates from the inside out. Expect to spend time studying your organization and its business. Try to learn as much as you can about the company during your internship. Your company and industry knowledge is not only helpful for projects, it’s a great way to impress your boss.
Ask questions and build relationships
Several of my intern projects required an understanding of different company functions. I found myself shadowing employees in different departments — including customer service, corporate real estate and power delivery — to learn more about the operations of these specific divisions. I even spent a day at Gorgas Electric Generating Plant, one of Alabama Power’s coal-fired power plants near Parrish, Alabama.
The first few weeks of your internship are usually spent meeting employees in different departments. Use these relationships to learn more about how the company operates and how each division contributes to the organization’s success. Don’t be afraid to reach out to full-time employees and ask questions.
Internships are a great way to gain professional experience and apply knowledge gained from college PR courses. Take advantage of every opportunity and make the most of your experience.