When you hear the word “intern,” you probably picture someone answering phones or getting coffee. Traditional internships are more focused on exposing young professionals to office work than on building real skills, and as a result most interns move on without gaining the experience they need to excel in a full-time position. But what if we could change that?
At RH Strategic, we believe that cultivating talent means investing in it at every level, including internships. To that end, we instituted a formal internship program that not only provides hands-on experience but also engages interns with a rigorous curriculum designed to teach them the PR skills needed to thrive in the ever-changing world of communications.
Here’s what Kara Lundberg, who heads up the program, had to say about the curriculum:
“To provide the best experience, we designed a program that includes daily participation in account work; a series of ten trainings on topics such as identifying media trends, writing for social media and crafting pitches; and a unique and challenging opportunity for interns to test their skills in a major culminating project. This curriculum has allowed us not only to foster exceptional talent but to funnel full-time junior staff into the firm.”
Three former interns – Cara Bolt, Aaron Edelstein and Alex Ruby – recently joined RH full-time and are now communications coordinators. We chatted with them about their experiences as interns and what drew them to RH:
Alex Ruby: RH stood out because other programs seemed to focus mainly on administrative work. As an intern, I participated in real, client-facing PR work and played an active role in a media pitching effort for one of our clients.
Cara Bolt: During the program, I learned how to analyze data to better understand the impact of a story. Data visualization is something I’ve always been interested in, so learning about it was incredibly beneficial.
Aaron Edelstein: I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with account managers and learn valuable skills, like time management. Juggling multiple time-sensitive projects on short deadlines is something school doesn’t quite prepare you for.
AR: In college, we mainly learned how to write and construct PR plans and campaigns, but we didn’t get much experience coordinating with the media. While an intern, I developed my first real pitch, helped build the team’s media list and sent out the pitch to reporters on my own. This resulted in landing my first media hit.
AE: The highlight of my internship was working on a client’s IPO. From the leadup, including supporting the development of our media strategy, to helping pitch the news the morning it went public. It was a unique experience. The coaching and support I got at RH made it a great place to start my career after graduating.
CB: From day one, I felt like I was a valued part of the team. Having the opportunity to present my own ideas for an account to firm leadership and managers was so satisfying. At that point, the intern program came full-circle – from starting at RH and learning about the different clients to becoming knowledgeable about a client’s industry and generating and presenting ideas.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare markets.