5 things my internship taught me about agency life

by WordWrite Staff, on Dec 12, 2019

Young woman with dog

In August, I received the call from WordWrite asking me to join their team as the fall intern. It was my opportunity to gain experience at an agency before graduating — and I was eager to learn.

As a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Public and Professional Writing and German, I had an opportunity to intern at several workplaces beforehand, including one of WordWrite’s clients, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Each internship was a unique and worthwhile experience.

In my four and half months as a WordWriter, though, my eyes were opened to every aspect of strategic communications. Here are my five takeaways:

Creativity and collaboration is key

As much as public relations appears to be a field that relies on established strategies to seek success, this only happens after creative and collaborative work is completed. PR professionals wear many hats. They brainstorm ideas that will draw in large audiences, they constantly seek out new ways to share a company’s story and values and sometimes even design a promotional document. We are so used to technology and relying on emails to convey our ideas, but an in-person brainstorm trumps technology every time. By working as a team to find solutions, people can listen to others and find new ways to inspire breakthrough ideas. I know that no matter where I work someday, I always want a strong team to collaborate with, one in which I can form genuine relationships. 

If you love to read and write, then this is the field for you 

Working at WordWrite inspired me to read the news daily. Spending time tearing through the newspapers and national news outlets every day made me realize just how many creative ideas and compelling stories are shared with the public on a daily basis. Part of my role involved researching journalists for story ideas and brainstorming new story ideas. Now I read columns that I may have skipped over in the past, because in PR, you never know what types of stories you might have to write. Staying on top of the news, trends and pop culture are all ways to amplify ideas to your clients and the media. You can never consume enough news, and I think we are all more than okay with that to support our peers in journalism.

You’ll stay involved 

I thought that once college is over, I wouldn’t have an opportunity to be involved in organizations and clubs while balancing a full-time job. However, every WordWriter is involved in organizations, some of which are industry-focused, such as PRSA, and others that promote philanthropic work like the United Way. Each WordWriter is passionate about their involvement and demonstrated to me that it is possible to balance work with your passions. They don’t keep their passions on the side, either. Instead, they talk about them and encourage other office members to join the fun.  

You’ll learn new things, duh, but everyone else is learning too

As an intern, of course we have a much steeper learning curve than anyone else in the office, but that is okay, because everyone is learning. PR is a field where people are constantly developing skills, and not just those that teach new functions on social media platforms, but those that address lifelong professional development. I had the opportunity to attend PRSA conferences, plan our own agency-hosted event, and sit in on countless lunch-and-learns taught by other WordWriters. This internship introduced me to many people in the PR industry, and I witnessed how willing my colleagues were to share their knowledge and advice with me. I am grateful for how much this internship and my colleagues have inspired and encouraged me with their words and their actions. 

Some advice I can give to future interns: don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way, and you will see improvements with your work. Over the course of the internship, reflect on the biggest lessons you learn by writing down what you do every day when you are in the office. Read the list after you leave, and you’ll be shocked at how many little things you will learn every day. 

As someone who doesn’t like surprises. . .

While I never liked the idea of someone throwing me a surprise party, I was eager to see what new projects popped up on my days in the office. At my internship, I learned not only how an agency helps craft a client’s story, but how those elements help companies stay the course during unexpected events. Whether it’s a positive or negative development, immediate-but-considered action is needed in these surprising times.  

My internship at WordWrite opened my eyes to the immense amount of work required to share clients’ stories, but the amount of effort makes the end result that much more worth it. This internship is incredibly fulfilling and rewarding, and I truly feel blessed that WordWrite took me under their wing to create a chapter in my own PR story.

One last thing. . .

Every agency should have a dog like Roxy (WordWrite’s chief barketing officer). Do I even need to explain this one?

If you’re looking for ways you can work with the WordWrite team and their clients, check out the careers page here. I highly recommend it!

Topics:internspublic relations internshipstudents in pragency life
Corinne Hebestreit

Corinne Hebestreit was our Fall 2019 Intern here at WordWrite.

If you'd like to get in touch with her she can be reached via email at cmh192@pitt.edu



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