If you’ve worked at an agency supporting two, three or even five or more clients, you know that multitasking is a very valuable skill. Yet, while we may all strive to be master multitaskers, there will be circumstances when you will have multiple deadlines all at the same time – and most likely in the next hour.
Now, you don’t possess super powers (if you do, this blog probably isn’t for you). Neither do we. So, here are a few tips that worked for us to manage your time effectively and meet expectations.
When you are supporting countless clients, accounts and projects across multiple team members:
- Communicate clearly with your manager and team to understand expectations and set realistic deadlines.
- Create a weekly to-do grid to share with your manager or team at the beginning of every week. As many interns support several accounts or even practices, managers may not have oversight on all your activities and deadlines. It is your responsibility to let your team know what you have on your plate. (Check out my sample to-do grid below)
- Accept that you can’t do it all. Prioritize your to-do list and plan deadlines accordingly, ensuring that you leave “wiggle room” for crises or immediate requests that may arise.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. But be sure to flag any issues ahead of time so that your team may be able to assist.
- If multiple people ask for your help on time sensitive projects and all are due at the same time, be sure to flag it to your teams who can then determine how best to prioritize. In some cases, the deadlines are “soft” and can either be pushed back or another person can help you.
- Lastly, take your time. Quality over quantity. Sometimes faster is not always better; it will actually take more time to edit, fix or re-do an assignment than to take your time and do it well. Don’t forget to proofread.
Last but not least, don’t forget to take time and enjoy your internship! It is our job to give you the tools and experience to help you succeed in your early career.
One thing we like to do on the Porter Novelli Intern Blog is answer your questions. Recently, a forward-thinking intern candidate asked when the 2013 Summer Internship Applications are due.
Here you are: one answer and one piece of advice from a former summer intern turned Porter Novelli PR pro:
- Deadlines will vary from office to office, but are typically mid-spring. For example, the Porter Novelli Atlanta Summer PR Internship applications are due by March 1, 2013. Many Porter Novelli offices are now accepting applications for summer internship positions – you can apply by clicking on “Internship Program” on the orange bar at the top of this blog for more information and direct access to the Porter Novelli Careers portal.
- I encourage you not to wait, but rather apply as soon as possible. Remember that a key to landing your dream PR internship is standing out from the crowd: be early, never late; focus on your accomplishments and prepare yourself for the professional culture of a global agency. Need help? Scroll through some of our older blog posts to point you in the right direction.
Have a question you’d like to ask a current or former intern? Click the “Ask us interns.” button on the right, and don’t forget that we cannot reply directly to your question if you ask it anonymously.
Hey y’all, I’m Nicole McClellan, the newest addition to Porter Novelli Radar. Just what in the world is that, you ask? Porter Novelli Radar is a round-the-clock monitoring service providing clients with real-time analysis of the issues most important to them. I’m happy to be a part of this ultra-savvy team.
I’m from Tifton, Ga., and moved to Atlanta to accept this incredible internship. I graduated from the University of Georgia in spring of 2012 and received a degree in public relations with minors in sociology and speech communications. Having completed nine PR internships as a full-time undergraduate student, I was excited to move into this position where I could zero-in on one agency.
I always knew that I wanted to be in the field of public relations, even though, coming in as a freshman at UGA, I didn’t know that was what it was called. I wanted a career that would allow me to write, research, network and use my people skills, but I didn’t know what options were available. It didn’t take me long after talking with my professors to discover that this profession had a name—public relations. After I discovered the field, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
My previous internships helped me narrow down what type of PR I liked. There are so many options within the field. I had internships in sports, fashion, healthcare and consumer PR in addition to working with a newspaper, a chamber of commerce and a university.
My advice to upcoming seniors and those who are graduating soon is to take on as many internships as you can and network. Go to every open house, career fair and shadow day possible. Also, find a mentor who can give you advice. Mentors can be invaluable resources as you navigate this uncertain job market.
Hey everyone! I’m Patrick. I was born in and raised just outside of Washington, DC. I went to the University of Maryland (GO TERPS!) and studied Psychology and Public Health, which were tough to translate into a job in 2009. I knew I wanted to study public health at the graduate level, but had no idea where, so I took some time off and went here:
When I received an invitation to study behavioral science and health education at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, I took a gulp and left my much beloved city for Atlanta. It wasn’t easy to move to a new city (where as far as I knew, was just that place that once hosted the Olympics), but there are some opportunities you just don’t ignore.
When an offer came to join Porter Novelli’s Health and Social Marketing practice as a summer intern, I jumped at it. I had taken a social marketing class at Emory taught by two PN’ers, and they made the choice a total no-brainer. Much like Emory, I could not be happier with my decision. I am having a complete blast here and learning so much about things like media and client relations, advocacy and campaign management. I have come to understand why PN’s work is so impressive: the people are impressive.
My advice to anyone starting out is to plan as best you can. Then take solace in the notion that you could quite possibly end up deviating from said plan. Embrace that uncertainty and ride that wave until it takes you somewhere great. Yes, it might feel uncomfortable, even silly, but it can be so much fun.
Come back and read about all the fun I’m having this summer!
Last September I joined the PN family as a monitoring specialist in Porter Novelli Radar. Working in Radar isn’t your everyday PR job. We don’t pitch journalists and we don’t write press releases. Heck, we don’t even work on an account team! That begs the question…what do we do?
The best part about PN Radar is that we constantly answer that question in different ways, but this is how it usually works:
- Client A calls one of our account teams. Crisis!
- After a member of the account team briefs us on the situation, we analyze every relevant social media post, print article and broadcast hit about the client and current issue.
- We use those data to glean insights and compile a comprehensive report for the client and account team.
- The account team typically uses the report to brief the client on the current media environment and how they’re being discussed. Based on what’s out there, the account team advises the client to help them through the crisis.
When I started working in Radar, I couldn’t have been more excited. I also couldn’t have been more nervous. Radar was an entirely new creation at Porter Novelli. No one was 100% sure whether it would be a success or not. I knew I was lucky to have this job but felt I could just as easily lose it. What do you do in this kind of situation? These tips can be applied to almost any position, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- It’s going to be a bumpy ride. It’s rare anything new will run smoothly the first few times. Learn from it. Refine the process. To this day we are still tweaking the way we do projects and format our reports. Rather than running from the obstacles, tackle them head on—they’re bound to come up no matter what. Make the best of those challenges!
- Ask questions. If you aren’t sure what to do, don’t be afraid to ask. Remember: your company created this function to see it succeed, so they want to help you. Asking questions opens up a dialogue and can help define your role in the organization. Figure it out as a team – it’s a lot easier than trying to figure everything out on your own.
- Challenge yourself. Always push to do more than you’re asked. Not only can it improve the way you’re viewed in the organization, but it can also boost the image of the entire company.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. You’re in a new position, so the doors for creativity are wide open. Have a great idea? Tell someone about it and try it out!
- Be flexible. Embrace this one. You’re helping to define what your job is – be ready for that description to change every so often and adapt to those changes. Being flexible is the best way to take on those obstacles I mentioned before.
It all boils down to letting your excitement override any of your misgivings. Doing something completely new and out of the norm is scary, but it can be the best experience you’ve ever had. It certainly has been for me.
– Kaylea Notarthomas
When sending out an email in response to someone or requesting that they review a document, DON’T FORGET THE ATTACHMENT! It seems like such a silly thing, and yeah, people forget all the time, but if there is one thing that will make you look like a total rookie, it’s forgetting the attachment.
In such a fast paced work environment, it’s easy to become completely focused on other assignments, or get pulled into meetings where you can’t access your email for an hour or so. The last thing you want to return to is an email saying, “I think you forgot something…”
In a time-crunch, it can be easy to press send without properly reviewing, but before you click “Send” and shoot that email off into cyberspace, take a deep breath. Read over what you just wrote, and make sure any documents mentioned are attached. A quick once-over will give you piece of mind and save time in the long run.
We have all been criticized at one point or another, whether in our personal or professional lives. However, not everyone reacts to criticism the same way.
Some ignore it, protecting them from hearing things they do not want to hear.
Some become defensive, building up feelings of resentment.
Some become disheartened and allow their self-esteem to lower.
But others use it as a way to correct and grow from their mistakes.
If you fall into the last category, congratulations! You are ahead of the game. If you fall into one of the other categories, don’t worry there is always time to change your ways.
As interns, we are just beginning to get a glimpse into the working world. We are inexperienced and still have much to learn. To think that we are undeserving of criticism is naïve and, frankly, will not allow any room for growth.
I know that it can be tough at times to accept criticism when you think you have done a great job on a task, but look at it this way: your superior isn’t trying to get you in trouble or offend you in any way; he/she is just trying to teach you so that next time, you will do an even better job on that task. If you just ignore what they say or take it as them being spiteful or let it get you down, you will miss out on a great learning opportunity, one that could be critical to your job when you finally start working.
The working world is a big change from what most interns are used to. In college, you get rewarded for your hard work by good grades, positive comments from your professors, etc. I am fortunate enough to have superiors who let me know when I have done a good job, but you may not always have that kind of support. There will be times when you are not recognized for your hard work. In fact, it may be that the only time you are recognized is when you do something wrong! Don’t let that bring you down. If you learn to handle criticism with poise and the knowledge that it will help you become a better business professional, you can turn a seemingly difficult situation into one that is advantageous to you.
Learning to react to criticism in the correct way is essential to succeeding not only in the PR world, but in any job environment. If nothing else, react positively to criticism to show your boss that you respect his/her opinion and are willing to set aside your emotions in order to improve your work.
-Parnia Ghazanfari, Porter Novelli Washington, DC
I’m Parnia, the Consumer Marketing intern at Porter Novelli Public Services in Washington, D.C. Here is a little more about me:
Hometown: Ashburn, VA, a small-but-growing suburb of Washington, DC. I was born in Sweden and lived there for five years before moving to Vancouver, Canada for a year and finally to Ashburn.
Education: I’m a rising senior at James Madison University (Go Dukes!). I’m working toward a B.A. in Media Arts & Design with a concentration in Corporate Communication.
Interests: I am very much interested in conveying important information to people and giving advice to people about how to improve their lives. I work for the school newspaper, The Breeze, where I am the online editor, and I love directly contributing to the delivery of news to the JMU population. I am so excited to have the opportunity at PN DC to work on an awareness campaign for an issue important to the American public. I am also an avid animal lover and a book worm (I’m currently reading Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper).
What inspires me: In addition to my mom, who inspires me on a daily basis with her strong work ethic and her ability to balance a career and a family so incredibly well, I am inspired by anything that makes me think on a deep level, whether it is a book, a conversation, a project, or even an advertisement.
Favorite Quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Internship: I learned about PN’s internship program through, believe it or not, LinkedIn—another reason to be awed by the power of social media in today’s age and time! I have been at PN DC for almost eight weeks now and time has flow by! This is my first internship, so every day here is a learning experience. I have had the opportunity to work with some great people and get a feel for what the PR industry is really like. I am working on some big-name accounts, mainly FDIC and SFI (I have learned more about banks and sustainability than I ever thought I would!), and I am also helping out with other accounts as well.
Future Goals: I would love to work in the PR industry and gain more skills and knowledge about creating a successful campaign and effectively communicating with the public. I want to incorporate my knowledge and experiences to raise awareness and educate the public about important social issues.
I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences on the blog!
The PR industry is ever-evolving, continuously adapting to the media and technology that has changed the practice in the last decade. In the three short years since I graduated, I have watched the competitive nature of the business explode, mirroring the large number of under-grads marching towards a career in PR. Looking back on my few years in the professional arena (and because hindsight is 20/20), I wanted to share a few thoughts and learning’s for you soon-to-be grads.
A notion that has come to me with a quarter-century in age and experience is that you must remain open to any opportunity. During my job search earlier this year, I was told by a number of hiring managers that, because of an agency’s desire to grow organically, I may need to take a step back and intern again. Since my career path took a turn away from agency PR, I opened up to this advice and came to the realization that an internship with the right company would be a killer opportunity to get my foot back in the door and re-introduce me to the ways and means of agency life.
Through word-of-mouth, I have been hearing stories circulating of recent or soon-to-be grads declining interviews for a post-grad internship. I get it. You want to be a full-timer. You want the stamp of approval that you belong in this industry. You’re young (and obviously cool), so you figure that you are in-the-know with social media. And here we come to my second point: if you are presented with the opportunity to meet with an agency or PR firm, no matter the position, take it! Use it as a way to build relationships, hone your interviewing skills and get to know more about the agencies that are out there.
My background is case and point. Once again in agency-land, I am reminded why I love this field: there is always something new to learn and smart people who love to share their wealth of knowledge. The beauty of being an intern is that you are supposed to be soaking up the brilliance of your peers with the advantage of a learning curve. There is time to become informed about your clients, just make sure to quickly crank up your game and show that you are developing as a professional. An internship is only what you make of it and your coworkers will take notice when you are taking your work to the next level. It’s vital to follow up on projects, volunteer to pitch in on other teams and be transparent about what interests you. Speak up in brainstorms, be an active member of your team and continue to build your visibility within the company to mold an internship into an entry-level position.
Although there are the lucky ones who, in the last few years, have managed to secure a job right out of school, that person may not be you. It sure wasn’t me. Remember these three pillars – Right Time, Right Place, Right Fit. All must fall into place, both for you and for the company. Be sure to keep all of your wants and needs in mind and, if you find that you may have settled in your choices, make a change! The power is in your own hands to make your future. Your resume is like a blueprint to the career you are reaching for, so fill it only with opportunities that get you one step closer to your dream.
You must prove yourself (a lot) to get started in this industry. The level of competition is only growing, so don’t miss out on a chance to first get your feet wet. Be patient and, with time, you will find yourself steering towards that epic first job.
In summation, my motto is this: Learn, Hustle. Hustle, Learn. HUSTLE.
~Blair Riley, Porter Novelli Atlanta
“Part I Brand You: Market Yourself and Secure that Internship”
How many times have you spoken with someone and then come up empty handed when asked for a business card? During my first month here, I was invited to attend a mobile healthcare conference sponsored by Porter Novelli. Everyone assembled to network and swap business cards after the speaker’s sessions. Being new to Porter Novelli I didn’t have one, and at that moment realized how vital having a business card was, particularly in a business where relationships are as important as they are in PR.
A business card is probably one of the most essential items a professional can have on hand and if you want to kick start your professional career, be sure to have one. Since my start at the New York office, I have found business cards very useful for interns, students and recent grads looking to secure an internship or potentially expand their network.
Keep it simple. Include your name, number, email (be sure to us an appropriate email that you check daily) and a link. The link could be your Twitter or LinkedIn handle or even promote your own website, blog, or e-portfolio.
If you want to get creative you can create a business card with a Quick Response or QR code, a two-dimensional barcode that is readable by applications available for most smartphones, and add a link to your resume or website. Just remember, longer URLs make the code more complex and difficult to scan, so use a URL shortener like BIT.LY and make sure to send people to a site that works well with mobile devices. Some QR code generators also offer to input contact info, so that a new contact could scan your card and immediately save your contact info to their phone or pass it to a colleague. Don’t forget to test the QR code on multiple phones before hitting ‘print’. If you’re looking for a place to start creating cards check out Moo.com and Marketsplash.com, they’re great!
Having a business card is a great way to start marketing yourself. If you’re wondering about how to approach someone for their business card, here’s a fantastic blog post from PN’s own Danny Devriendt. MeetUp.com is a great place to start networking. You can find local MeetUps with industry professionals that get together to discuss issues. Find a local MeetUp and bring your business card, a positive attitude and you’ll be surprised to find what you can accomplish.
- Timothy Torba, Porter Novelli New York