By: Lucil Macwan, DePaul University public relations and advertising major ‘17
DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.
A professor once told me that public relations is what keeps the world informed. During my last four months as a PR intern for DePaul, I learned that this is quite true. So, what do PR professionals do? Let me give you a glimpse of what you can expect when you begin your own adventure.
As a transfer student coming into DePaul, I didn’t have much time to apply for internships before graduation. Fortunately, I was offered a position at the very university I attend; from the time when I started working in the DePaul Office of Public Relations & Communications (OPRC) in September to now, I have grown to have much respect for the profession.
Being a PR intern, I quickly learned to create engaging and interesting content for the DePaul community by writing about upcoming events, feature stories and press releases. In the beginning, I was writing press releases that informed the public about exciting campus events. Our goal at the office is to provide public service by keeping our audience informed and spotlight DePaul’s great professors, students and achievements. This experience allowed me to research and strengthen my writing and communication skills.
As I adjusted to the company culture, I was given more responsibilities that provided opportunities to conduct one-on-one interviews with people whom I was writing a story or press release about. This was my favorite part about the job because it allowed me to become educated around topics I previously didn’t know much about. In the four months that I have been a PR intern, I have written about Shakespearean plays, medical research, movies and more.
Though PR consists of a lot of writing, refinement and research, you also have to have good communication skills; being able to talk to team members about ideas, feedback and planning is important. Each one of us at the office works as a unit to ensure DePaul is represented in the best way possible.
From my experiences, my best advice would be to not worry so much about having all the skills when applying for internships; you will learn and acquire skills as you progress through your career. When I was applying for internships, I often felt very intimidated by long job descriptions, but I soon learned that work ethic and a willingness to learn goes a long way with employers. As a PR intern for DePaul, I learned to effectively communicate with a team, to conduct research and to navigate the ins and outs many software programs used in the PR world. Not knowing everything is okay, but curiosity to know more is what matters.
I also highly suggest creating a portfolio of writing material that you have done in or out of class, as it’s a good starting point for recruiters to get a sense of your writing style. Remember, when you write, your audience may or may not know much about the topic at hand, it’s your job to make it as accessible as possible.
Now that you have an idea of what it’s like to work in PR, are you ready to take the next step?