How Seeking a Babysitting Gig Turned Into My Senior PR Internship
When I started at the University of Rhode Island, I never could’ve guessed that half my time in college would be spent interning in my field. I was especially lucky to do so at an office only 15 minutes away! As the senior PR intern at Caster, I wanted to reflect on my experience and my journey as an intern at a PR agency working with clients in an industry that I previously had no experience with.
Two Septembers ago, I was just a young PR student who was lucky to have some free time… because I needed a job. While searching through a caregiver’s site looking for an after-class babysitting gig, I stumbled across Kimberly Lancaster’s page: “President and founder of PR agency” was directly in the bio. Immediately, I wanted to speak with Kim – not only about childcare but about her career and about her PR expertise, so I requested a meeting with her to talk about PR, pushing myself to take charge and make use of my time in Rhode Island. My meeting with Kim gave me an overwhelming sense of joy in my choice of school and major because after that I knew that PR was perfect for me.
Instead of babysitting, Kim brought me on to help with an ongoing media list project, finding press contacts to pitch for a client’s event. This temporary work turned into a few more projects for other clients until finally, I was working at Caster three to four times a week. I dove headfirst into the agency world, gaining gradual exposure to the clients, the vast tech lingo that I was reading daily, and the day-to-day life of working in this field.
While the pace was thrilling, it wasn’t easy. This was my first experience in a PR office setting, and my first time working with clients in the smart home, autonomous vehicle, A/V, and general consumer technology sectors. Jumping into all of Caster’s industries was tough, and I wrote about it on a blog in the industry publication, AVNetwork.
After four months, during my winter break, I came from Long Island to work for a week in office to help the in-office team as they worked through CES 2018. While I was nervous to be a main point of contact for my coworkers, I was excited to take on this challenge. With half the team out in Vegas, I helped with social media monitoring, crafting coverage reports, and social scheduling.
Fast forward to this year — I’m fortunate to still be doing it all. Taking my final senior-level PR courses, I have the chance to use my course material in my internship. As I learn the ways to find and monitor clients’ news in class and create coverage reports, I am simultaneously building those same reports at work.
This internship has been an experience of a lifetime, and if I can offer any advice to college students it is to start as soon as you can. If I hadn’t pushed myself as a junior to try for this opportunity, I may not have had the chance as a senior to join such an encouraging and knowledgeable team. I am thankful every day that this team opened their office to a young student who was just willing to absorb and take in any knowledge that she could. Caster has opened my eyes to what PR truly is and has given me the tools to successfully feel confident in this field upon graduating and beyond.
Did you have a meaningful internship experience that opened your eyes to your field? Chat with me about it on Twitter!