Final post: tips for interns

The biggest thing I have learned is that it’s okay if your internship isn’t what you expected. I’m not sure what I expected going into my internship, but I’ve realized that my big dream of working at an agency doing beauty-oriented public relations maybe isn’t best suited to my personality, skill set or needs. I think that having experiences to know what kinds of jobs fit all of those things is essential to finding a career that will bring you long-term happiness.

That being said, I loved the experience I had. I met so many people that I was able to network with and learn from. That networking will hopefully help me find another internship or future job in a field that suits my personality, skill set and needs even more.

To make the best experience out of your internship, I made a list of my top five tips:

Tips for interns

1. Always ask, “what can I do?”
Make yourself useful at all times, no slacking!

2. Enthusiasm
A smile and a “no problem!” will go a long way in keeping both you and your supervisor happy.

3. Willingness to work (even past clock-out)
Make yourself available for different opportunities. I went home a day later than I should have because I asked if I could help out with an event that my company planned. It was the highlight of my whole internship!

4. Say “thank you” for every opportunity
Show that you are grateful for the learning experience you are getting.

5. Ask questions!
You can’t do the best work if you don’t ask questions when you’re confused. Just pay attention so you don’t have to ask TOO many.

6/16/14 & 6/17/14 – Pitches

I’ve already explained send-outs and how we do them, but before we get any emails for send-outs, we have to pitch the product.

So they way this usually works is the agency will get a budget from the client for a year. This budget is what the agency will tap into for everything from the shipping costs on send-outs to the venue for an event.

The client will send us (a usually pretty large amount) of their product, and we will use part of the budget to ship their product out to beauty bloggers and different media outlets like magazines.

In order to know who to send the product out to, we will check the editorial calendars of magazines (my job to find and print all of them) and look forward about two to three months to the stories that will be written. So for example, we would check calendars for Father’s Day stories back in April-ish and pitch our products that are “a good fit for dad” to the magazines then.

These pitches usually involve 3-10 products and can be anything from one brand’s new launches for that year to a pitch with one product each from multiple brands for a specific purpose, like sun care.

I wrote my first pitch this week and it received a solid number of follow-up emails stating that the editor would love to try the product. So then it was my job to go in the product closet and grab them, bubble wrap them, print out the fact sheets (so the editor has all the details for the product when they write the story) and ship them out all over the country.

I wrote three more pitches that day and my supervisor said they all did pretty well. I’m excited for the opportunity to write more and get more creative, now that I know what they’re expecting from me a little more.

This week was also very cool in terms of personal news because my older brother, who is a chef, just helped this other chef open a restaurant! We were able to attend (and eat crazily priced food for free!) on Sunday for “Friends and Family” which is kind of like a soft opening for the place, which helped them work out kinks in the service later.

My dad was happy because it was Father’s Day so he got to do something pretty cool and see all of his son’s hard work pay off. It’s called “Meadowsweet” and is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Aforementioned excited dad, and my younger brother who was gutsy and tried the octopus:

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The “snack” for the table (fried artichoke with arugula and parmesan–SO GOOD) and my appetizer (raviollo with pea shoots in a parmesan broth):

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Forgot to take a photo of my entree, but it was this outrageous tender chicken with a whole bunch of other things in it, and my dessert was a chocolate semifreddo (basically a fudge-sickle) with fried rice crispies and some kind of Mexican milk. Soooooo good.

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And we took a little tour of the kitchen and met the owner to finish off the night!

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New York can be pretty cool sometimes.

6/9/14 & 6/10/14

Wilkes-Barre vs NYC

The differences in living in both Hazleton (and going to school in Wilkes-Barre) and NYC constantly amaze me. It’s the little things that you don’t even think of until you’re put in a situation. For example, if I’m craving fast food, I can’t hop in my car and get a meal for less than $10 in NYC like I can in Wilkes-Barre. I have to find the closest chain, figure out the subway stop closest to it and which line I need to take to get there, get on the subway and actually get there, and shell out more cash than I would usually here in PA for my meal. Here’s a quick and easy, to-the-point pro and con list of both cities.

WILKE-BARRE

PROS:

-Inexpensive cost of living, more bang for your buck.

-Easier to own a car and get from point A to point B faster.

-More room per square foot for family, pets, friends.

CONS:

-Not much to do in terms of entertainment or culture for the younger crowd.

-Not as many opportunities for niche careers.

 

NYC

PROS:

-Limitless options for entertainment, culture, food, etc.

-Excellent career opportunities.

CONS:

-Expensive cost of living.

-Public transportation is time consuming and, quite frankly, irritating.

-Not much room, no yard and average apartment size is very small.

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In addition, here’s the breakdown of average costs per city. This link gives you a total side-by-side comparison of everything from the cost of milk to a new car to internet.

Wilkes Barre-

Average salary for PR position (indeed.com): $42,000/year

Average rent: ($500/month, city-data.com): $6,000/year

Average cost of transportation (Car cost for one year, USAtoday.com): $9,000/year

 

NYC-

Average salary for PR position (indeed.com): $72,000/year

Average rent: ($3,800/month, msn.com) $45,600/year

Average cost of transportation (Subway cost for one year): $1,344

 

6/2/14 & 6/3/14

MONDAY:

My week started off interestingly enough with this giant inflatable rat hanging out in front of where I work. Still have no idea why it was there, but I feel like a lot of things like this happen in this city — weird and seemingly pointless things, I mean.

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I went on an errand first, then settled down for some office work for an event we were planning.

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Each folder got a bio of one of the people associated with the company, an overview of the products the company offers, and two fact sheets: one for a product that is already out and one for the product the company just launched.

TUESDAY:

The event I helped set up for was more low-key than the first one I worked, though the location was phenomenal. Check out the view from the hotel we chose! I could have sat at that floor-to-ceiling window all day.

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CMM chose this particular hotel because it matched the aesthetic of the product, which I thought was a very cool detail.

 

 

 

5/27/14 & 5/28/14

Due to Memorial Day, I decided to work Tuesday and Wednesday this week instead of the usual Monday and Tuesday.  My decision to work another day was well worth it–but more on that in my next post.

Tuesday was pretty average.  I did a lot of what seems to be usual tasks around the office.  One of the tasks that I’m told to do most often is send-outs.  What happens is my supervisor will give me these keys, which open the conference room and back room where all of our products are held.

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She’ll usually print out an email or scribble the product names on a post-it and I’ll go in the product closets and pick whatever needs to be sent out.  This can be anywhere from one to six products, usually.   If they’re being sent anywhere around Manhattan, I place them in a purple CMM bag, place a label on them and call it in to RDS.

 

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RDS is this service that we use that is basically mini UPS for moving packages and messages around Manhattan only. Anywhere that’s not Manhattan gets shipped through UPS in Express boxes, even Brooklyn (which surprised me since it’s only a tunnel or bridge away).

Products that are UPS bound get bubble wrapped and placed in their box with the fact sheets for each product to let the receiver of the package know what the product claims to do and what the ingredients are. This is an average day’s worth of send-outs. UPS conveniently comes by every day at 4 to pick them up. RDS comes in constantly, in and out, to pick up their packages.

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We do send outs because they’re an easy way to get our clients into the media.  For example, say one of our clients has a tooth whitening product..  So if a magazine has on their editorial calendar online that they will be doing stories on tooth whitening in June, we will send them an email that pitches our product and they will let us know if they’re interested or not.  If they are, we send them the product (usually full size, not samples!) and if they like it, they will mention our product in their media outlet, whether it’s magazines, broadcast segments, radio broadcasts or blogs.  Since the client sends us boxes upon boxes of their products specifically for this purpose, it’s a fairly cost-efficient way to advertise their product without spending big bucks on ads.

Wednesday I worked a fantastically glamourous event that I unfortunately can’t give any details about. It was a product launch on the rooftop of a very ritzy hotel that was right up my alley. It was worth it to stay til Wednesday.

5/19/14 & 5/20/14

MONDAY:

The first time I went to New York City (as an adult, not a toddler who couldn’t remember it) I was wide-eyed and excited at the thought of navigating the intricate subway system. After over a year of visiting my brother, who lives in Brooklyn, I have learned how not to look like a tourist. I swipe the MetroCard that I have swiftly pulled out of my pocket instead of making a show of buying a card at the machines or taking 10 minutes to pull it out of my purse. I walk onto the platform and keep my eyes on the tracks, waiting for the Manhattan-bound F train. When it arrives at approximately 9:20 a.m., I board the train and avoid eye contact with my fellow passengers.

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Everyone has a different avoidance technique: some people knit, some people stick their nose in a book, some people simply gaze consistently at the list of stops above the head of whoever is sitting across from them. As strange as it sounds, this is what I like about New York: everyone minds his or her own business. Everyone has something to do or somewhere to go and it is only polite to let him or her busy themselves in their knitting or their book or their thoughts. The conductor announces that we have arrived at Broadway-Lafayette. I hop off the train, slide sideways through the turnstile and turn the corner, where, four buildings down I will say good morning to the man at the front desk and ride the elevator to the fifth floor.

Today I had a few projects.  I stuffed folders for a skincare product launch and made these cute little gift bags for each attendee of the dinner that night.

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I also did the usual: sent out products to different companies and bloggers so they would hopefully review them and get our client noticed in the media.  It was a fairly average day, nothing too wild. I feel like I’m getting the hang of how things run around CMM and it’s nice to know most people’s names and help with anything I can.  My supervisor put me on a task to search a hashtag on an event that Urban Decay did for beauty bloggers, so I made a list of who posted using the hashtag and we are going to contact those bloggers and try to get them to review our clients’ products.  I stayed an extra half-hour to complete the list because it drives me crazy to leave something half-finished.

As a little reward for my hard work, I decided to go to Ferrara’s for a cannoli and got lost about three times before I realized where I was going, all while my phone was at 5% battery and I had no idea how to get home after I even got to Ferrara’s.  I figured it out, got a gelato (YUM!) to literally and figuratively cool myself off, and hopped onto the F train back home to savor my cannoli after dinner.

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This was the view on my way back to the apartment. So pretty!

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And how cool is this graffiti by my brother’s apartment? Anyone remember Kid’s Next Door?IMG_8035

TUESDAY:

Everyone I work with is so fashionable. I drool over the girls’ shoes like a puppy after a bone. I tried the more conservative approach the first week I went in, but after seeing how stylish these ladies are, I decided to get a little more trendy this week. Here’s two obnoxious selfies of Monday and Tuesday’s outfits:

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It paid off in the office, as I got a few compliments from my co-workers but I attracted unwanted attention on my way to the subway.  You nod at someone to be friendly and suddenly they’re cat-calling you. I’ve learned to keep my eyes down and ignore any disgusting comments. All part of city living, I guess.

When I got into work, I was told that we were doing a product mailing and I needed to take the company’s credit card and head down to a place called Jam that sells gift bags, envelopes, and party supplies.  So I took the card and a piece of paper with directions of where I should go and embarked on my two-subway-stop journey. I found the place just fine (and had some pretty scenery to look at along they way– it was close to Union Square) but they didn’t have the exact size bags we needed so I grabbed the bigger ones and they ended up working perfectly!

 

So I tore off all the price tags, tied on the little promo tags, placed product fact sheets inside, stuck paper labels on the front, and helped my supervisor stuff them with really cute Edible Arrangements to complement the product we were sending to beauty editors. Could not get over how cute they all were!

Then I checked over 300 products a client sent us for defects, which was exhausting, but someone had to do it and I’m glad that everyone appreciated my effort.  That’s one great thing about interning at CMM — everyone says thank you, and that goes a long way.

My last task of the day was to buy a few light pink roses so we could pluck off the petals and sprinkle them on the table for that skincare launch I mentioned in my last post.  Their products have rose extracts or something of that nature in them, so they wanted to tie in rose petals with the dinner. I didn’t mind going to this little high-end grocery store around the corner to pick up these pretty flowers.

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The other summer interns are finally here and they’re all sweet gals (and one guy) so I’m looking forward to what’s ahead at CMM.

 

5/12/14 & 5/13/14

MONDAY:

Monday was my first day interning at Creative Media Marketing in New York City. First, let me give you some background on the company so you know why I was thrilled to get this internship in the first place.

CMM is a mid-sized public relations firm in the very artsy neighborhood of SoHo. As a licensed beautician, I absolutely drooled when I saw their client list.

While many students find a suitable internship close to Wilkes in their chosen field, I am not as lucky due to the very specific niche I want to be in, so I had to think outside the box to find the perfect internship that would blend my love of PR with my love of beauty. I have definitely found it here with CMM.

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When I went for my interview, my supervisor told me that CMM’s goal at the end of the day is to get their clients into the media. I spent my first day doing all of the little necessary tasks to assist them in that end goal.

One of my responsibilities as an intern is to unbox and organize our client’s products. There are about a dozen of these huge floor-to-ceiling closets placed around the two suites that CMM occupies in this building. In addition, they have an entire room dedicated to just products, generally referred to as “the back room”.

I was in heaven when I first walked in that room and saw a ton of brands that I use every day in the salon at home.

Overall, I had a fantastic first day at CMM.

TUESDAY:

Most of my day was spent writing emails and updating product placement lists for our clients, which basically means that if one of their products gets highlighted in the media (magazines, TV segments, radio broadcasts, online blogs) it’s my job to screenshot or scan it in and save it so we can send it to the client and they can see how we’ve helped them.

I also helped another lady I work with on an event that she is planning for one of her skincare clients. I helped with stuffing folders and making little hashtag cards that she is going to place on the tables to keep people talking online about the event.

I also made a little over 30 nametags and I was very impressed with the guest list, though I can’t mention any names.

Overall, my first week was a huge success. I felt like I got a semester’s worth of class lecture in fourteen hours of practical experience at my internship. I can only hope that I can continue to grow as a PR professional and have a fantastic time doing it.

Keep checking back every week for a new post about my adventure in the Big Apple!