Internship: My reflections and takeaways

I didn’t actually know that much about the PR world before beginning my internship with Carnsight. I was exploring any possible career paths to pursue for a placement year, and it almost seemed like way too many options to even know where to begin. PR had been suggested to me, I found there were plenty of links to my university course, and I really wanted to get a deeper look into how one works to influence the public’s perception when marketing people, businesses, or products.

When considering whether this internship has been what I expected or not, I realised I didn’t step into it with a whole lot of pre-conceived ideas, either good and bad. For this reason, I don’t have much to compare it to or match it up to. I am not able to say whether it’s what I thought it would be or whether anything surprised me, but I can say I’ve learned a huge amount about PR and am confident that I have more of an idea of what is involved. I now know about more aspects of PR, rather than just the handful of things that I knew before starting this internship. I’ve noted just a few of the things I’ve learned, both about the world of PR and working with Carnsight in general, that I will take with me into my next year of study and wherever life takes me after.

PR skills

Firstly, there are several skills I’ve learned that directly relate to PR. These include writing press releases, managing social media for clients, and researching platforms and publications that would benefit and interest clients. I have learned more about the process of thinking up different approaches and angles to try and expand a client’s coverage. The internship has also allowed me to sit in on team meetings that discuss clients and strategies, and even get a glimpse into the beginning process of taking on a new client.

My time at Carnsight has given me the opportunity to spend time working in a professional environment and gain experience applying the skills I already had and have learned throughout my course somewhere other than a lecture hall, coursework, or exams.

Building up a profile and connections

I have learned that PR relies heavily on personal connections and profiles. It’s all about building the relationships with clients, journalists, and even publications. Interacting with people on social media can be a main way to expand your circle and open the door to some new opportunities you would have otherwise missed. It is important to be up for phone calls and chats, speaking to new people, and being open to establishing and expanding your network where possible.

Variety

One thing I did not anticipate when entering a PR role was the variety that has come with it. Carnsight has such a diverse range of clients and the content they work with always differs. I have learned about so many various subjects and areas of expertise throughout my months here that I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise. Always having to read up about the client’s work and priorities when working on their social media or press releases has challenged me to broaden knowledge on many topics. It has also kept the work fresh and interesting – I haven’t found myself becoming bored of just researching and writing about one subject.

Being a part of a smaller business

I’ve really enjoyed being a part of a smaller business. The idea of working in a corporate environment for one of the first experiences I was going to have in a professional working environment was daunting to me. I have loved getting to know the team individually and building a rapport with them. A small business also allows you to work closely with clients and gives the company, in this case, Carnsight, an opportunity to fully tailor towards goals for the clients’ products and business.

Working in a professional environment

The team at Carnsight has shown me it’s possible to work in a professional environment and also feel at home. I think some people might believe that working in an office is stiff and impersonal. However, the team at Carnsight remains professional while caring about each other, the events going on in their lives, asking after their families, and doing what they can to make it easier on a member of the team who may be having a tough time. The balance is so refreshing and has been an enjoyable aspect of this internship.

I can never thank Jess enough for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to join the team for the better part of the past year, and Georgia and Leigh-Ann for welcoming me so warmly. I was worried during the beginning of the academic year whether taking a placement year was the right decision, but with each day that has gone by, I have been incredibly grateful that I went ahead with it. Alongside the additional two internships I have completed, Carnsight has given me something to wake up for, stay busy with, and brought some structure to my weeks. And saying that, I absolutely cannot exclude the great people I have met along the way and have had the pleasure of working with!