Archive for Intern Tasks

Mar
26

Calling All Interns

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Having helped run Peppercomm’s intern program for several years–knowing hat to look for in a candidate has become second nature.

We’re always looking for candidates who are:

  • Smart (duh)
  • Capable
  • Quick studies
  • Willing to learn
  • Fit in  with our unique culture

Of course, there are some basic skills that are a must such as great writing and researching skills. It’s always a bonus if you already posses some media relations skills, but those are skills that can certainly be taught.

If you’re interested in our program, SURPRISE, we’re hiring now. Check out our intern program page for more information and how to apply. And if you’re looking for the perfect intern model, here’s a great video to use as a “guide” (maybe don’t do everything from this video . . . or any of it–but who doesn’t love the Muppets): What If The Muppets Were Interns.

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Oct
31

The ‘Right Way’

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Today’s post is by Peppercomm Business Outcomes intern, Alex Garay.

Ever since I can remember, I was never really a fan of any activity that had one specific, strict way in which it should be done. As a child when learning to play the piano, I abhorred the concept of “piano fingering”, where certain notes had to be played with certain fingers. If I could find a way to play the exact same notes in an easier way, why not do it? If my method works and produces an equal or better result, it couldn’t be a bad thing, could it? Why do I have to do it the “right” way if my way works better for me? Some may disagree, but I’ve always enjoyed activities, tasks, classes, and jobs more when I have the freedom to find a better way. A task becomes more rewarding, exciting, and funner for me when there is more than one way to do it; in school I enjoy classes that involve a creative element (such as strategy, marketing, and some finance) more than classes that teach a subject that has always been done way and is designed to always be done that way. Classes that allow for some creativity often provide example-based experience where you can test your ability to think in new ways, which I think is a more valuable learning experience than simply learning a process. Of course, it’s incredibly important to explore all types of classes so that you know where you stand and can understand what type of work you feel more comfortable with. Remember, however, that there is not always a clear line between by-the-book and creative.

I personally don’t always like doing something the “right way”, but don’t get me wrong – established processes are obviously very important, and they are a testament to the creativity and insight of their developers. Someone, or several people, worked hard to facilitate the future by creating methods that can be followed. But I think that an established process should be a baseline, a benchmark that can then be improved upon and developed further to facilitate progress and ensure that it is still relevant. This could apply to anything, from something as simple as data entry to something as complex as federal tax code. I am a strong believer in the idea that “there is always a better way”, and I also believe that it can be applied to almost anything.

How does this relate to job searches, internships, and PR? Well, I’ve had jobs and internships where I have to do the same thing, the same way, every day, and then I’ve had and internships where I have the freedom to do something a different way if I can show that it’s easier, more efficient, or in some way better than the current way. It’s not difficult for me to decide which of these I enjoy more and get more fulfillment from. Public relations, marketing, communications, strategy – they’re all great industries to examine and carefully consider for someone who seeks that sort of experience. There are others, to be sure – in fact, almost any industry will have a creative aspect. But if that freedom and room for creativity is what you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find it if you involve yourself in one or more of these industries, because they revolve around new ideas – there’s not always a “right way.”

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Aug
08

The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s post, meet Peppercomm intern and future PR star, Chris Piedmont.

Piedmont, Chris

1.  Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and public relations?

I’m currently a senior at the College of Charleston located in historic downtown Charleston, SC where I’m serving as the Student Body Vice President this year. I grew up just outside of Charleston in a small suburb. After spending my first year of college at another university in the upstate of SC, Charleston called me home.  When I originally went off to school, I was dead set on going into education but, after my introductory class had us tutoring local high school children, I felt like something was off. I decided I wanted to pursue a degree in something I could do more with than teach and, if the call to educate came later in life, I could always take classes to get my teaching certification.

After making this decision, I started taking career surveys to figure out what I should consider. One of the surveys suggested that I’d be good at teaching (shocker), psychiatry and public relations. Prior to this, I never understood what public relations field really was but decided to try it out and I’ve never looked back.

My interest in public relations was what sparked my transfer back home to the College of Charleston due to our thriving strategic communication program, our Advisory Council and the internship opportunities available in the Charleston area that were not as easy to find in the upstate. A month after I started at CofC, I had the pleasure of hearing Steve Cody speak at one of our Advisory Council Student Forums about developing your own personal brand. I was so blown away by his ability to connect with everyone in the room, make us all laugh, and learn at the same time. Later in the year, I was able to participate in a networking trip to NYC and one of our stops was Peppercomm. While visiting, we learned about Peppercomm, the internship program and the great work and culture that exists here. After seeing all this, I knew that this was the place for me and I still get excited every day to come in to work because I’ve wanted this for so long.

2.  What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

Right now, I find public affairs the most appealing part of the industry because it’s the unknown for me. I haven’t had the opportunity to do much work in this area and would love to take a stab at it. With that said, I really enjoy the consumer and financial services sectors that I’ve been introduced to recently.

 3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

One surprise for me would be the extent to which public relations professionals love their jobs and have fun while at work. In talking with friends at other internships in different sectors, they are getting coffee, filing papers, and not really enjoying life. For my friends in PR internships and myself, that couldn’t be further from the case. We’re getting hands-on experience and learning from professionals who light up when they come to work.

 4.  Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Who knows? If I’ve learned anything from networking and speaking to my colleagues here at Peppercomm and elsewhere in the public relations industry, it’s that you never know where you’ll end up because opportunities simply have a way of presenting themselves. While I’d like to say that my crystal ball is in full working condition and that I know exactly where I’ll be in one, five, or 10 years, I can’t. I simply plan on working my hardest and taking any and every opportunity that presents itself because there’s always something more to be learned.

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Today’s post is by Peppercomm intern and future industry star, Taylor Hatch.

One of my favorite tasks as an intern at Peppercomm is tweeting for clients. In fact, the other day I tweeted an article about entrepreneurship entitled, “3 Reasons Why ‘No’ Should Be an Entrepreneur’s Favorite Word,” which you can find here. It’s not the first article I’ve read warning against the dangers of taking on too much—and it shouldn’t fall on deaf ears. In my brief exposure to the PR industry, I’ve seen ambitious and hardworking professionals who wouldn’t survive the day if they took on each and every task that crossed their desks.

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However, in my experience, “no” has little value—if any—for a PR intern. Here’s why:

1)      What’s considered a time-consuming task to a more established PR professional is an opportunity for an intern. This is the time to develop new skills, like media relations, while perfecting others, even if that means becoming a pro at using the copy machine.

That’s not to say you should be satisfied with an internship that involves nothing but coffee runs and laminating. However, more menial jobs are not necessarily worthless. Something should only be considered a mundane task if you’re so comfortable with it you could do it in your sleep:

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2)      Interns work hard—especially here at Peppercomm—but let’s be honest, an intern’s workload is not as intense as, shall we say, real life. Many of us are living on our own—no kids or pets for which we’re responsible. In fact, this may be the most flexible time in our professional lives, so take advantage of it! Once you take that perspective, it’s really no sweat if your supervisor tells you:

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3)      Interns are the newest members of the agency family! Not only should we all be willing to help our more senior colleagues (after all, they all likely paid their intern dues at one point) but interns should also be eager to contribute.

 One way to tell if you’re a successful intern is if you feel needed by your coworkers. When your contributions make other employees’ lives easier, you’re probably valued by the agency—and that’s a good feeling!

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4)      In my first internship, I was terrified to volunteer for anything that I didn’t already know how to do. “A media list? What? I’ve never… no! “ would go through my head. Luckily, I was the only intern at the firm for a few weeks, so “no” wasn’t an option. It only took a couple of tries to realize I could handle media lists, experience that has been essential at Peppercomm.

Let’s use the “diving in” metaphor. Tasks are like diving boards, the harder (or higher) they seem, the more you fear you might drown. But it’s the challenging, seemingly “out-of-your-league” tasks that will have the greatest impact on your professional development. So even though you’ll feel like this at first:

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                Eventually you realize:

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5)      Finally, being the one who’s never available to help is simply not a good reputation to have—especially for interns! We’re new, both to the company and to the PR world, so we’re expected to be a little more eager and flexible. In my opinion, the worst mistake you can make as an intern is shying away from challenges and new opportunities. Don’t be that guy:

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Summer’s here (or will be as of tomorrow) and so is our internship program’s summer session. This week meet future communications industry star and current Peppercomm intern, Taylor Hatch.

Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and public relations?

I am a rising senior at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and I hail from Montclair, NJ. I study Spanish and Marketing and first decided to give PR a shot last summer during an internship at a small public relations consultancy firm in New York City. I loved learning how to pitch and decided I wanted to do another PR internship at an agency, particularly one that would give me even more hands-on experience. It didn’t take me long to stumble across Peppercomm’s website and fall in love with the company culture, variety of clients, and internship description.

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

 So far, I’ve been most interested in the way social media is used as a PR tool. I think social media has enabled brands to express their personalities in ways that aren’t possible without it. it’s so interesting to see how companies that one may not expect to be “social”, like financial service companies, for example, engage customers across all platforms! Another area of PR that I’m interested in exploring is Crisis Management and, luckily for me, it completely intersects with social media. Now, when a crisis occurs, brands can’t put it off for even a day because they can instantly respond by tweeting about it. Social media is both a source of damage control and damage creation for brands and I love this area of PR because, in my opinion, it’s the most dynamic and engaging.

Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

Going from a much smaller PR firm to a mid-size agency like Peppercomm, one thing that surprised me was how many roles one agency can fill! In my first week I’ve noticed how Peppercomm owns so many of its clients’ projects from start to finish. Between research, design, events, media relations, crisis management, measurement, and so much more, it’s obvious that the industry is anything but limiting. I was happily surprised by how a career in PR can allow you to dabble in many different areas of marketing.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

While PR seems to be the place for me, I’d like to learn more about how PR agencies intersect with other types of  marketing firms, such as advertising agencies. It would be interesting to learn more about these other functions of marketing in order to better understand how to cooperate and coordinate client strategy on every level. For this reason, I definitely see myself working in an integrated marketing agency such as Peppercomm. I’ll have to see where my accounts take me this summer, but I imagine myself working with either consumer product or financial service companies in the future.

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Jun
19

Interns Behaving Badly

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Obviously this isn’t about you, but we know it happens and more often then we would all want–interns can behave badly.

Check out this great piece from Forbes on Summer Internship Horror Stories And How To Avoid Them. Read the article THOROUGHLY and make sure you don’t follow suit. Ever.

Luckily, our intern program doesn’t have much wiggle room to allow for any of these horror stories to come to fruition . . .

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Categories : Intern Tasks, Internship
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Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm intern and future PR star, Nick Gilyard.

Remember that one time it was your first day, of your first internship, of your first real PR practice outside of the classroom? Nope, me either. Although it’s been forever since I was “that guy”, (circa last Tuesday) these are five things I learned in my first week here at Peppercomm:

1. Classroom Time is not “Real-Time”.

In class, many of your professors will give you time (2-3 days, maybe even a week) to write out a well thought out pitch, blog post or handle some kind of simulated media relations crisis. This will not be the case when you enter the real world of PR. The account executives all around me are constantly creating, updating, responding and pitching content to and for clients. This can be shocking if you aren’t prepared for the switch, or unless you are Grumpy Cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Emails= Text Messaging for Adults.

Professors harp on you about texting (or Snapchatting) in class because they believe it distracts you from what’s going on in class. I’d argue that, minus the snapchatting, its actually good practice for the real world. Multitasking on the job is a must. The possibility that you may be interrupted at your desk or in a meeting by an email that requires an immediate response is very…very real.  It’s like getting a text from (Insert name of your best friend here) that says “Cute (insert sex of best friend’s preference here) just walked into Starbucks. What should I do?!?!!?!”  and taking forever to reply. In this scenario your best friend is upset until you promise to play the wingman/wingwoman later that night. In the work scenario, that text message was an email from a client/your boss and the repercussion for your tardiness may not be fixed with “Sry Girl, was in class. *frowny face* Still need my help <&hearts>?”[Send].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. There Really is No Such Thing as a Dumb Question.

I’ve been hearing it since elementary school and never believed it… until now. If you are interning (at least at Crain’s voted NYC #1 place to work) you are encouraged to ask questions. Don’t assume you’re an Excel, Outlook or media list expert because A: Using a program one time in class doesn’t make you an expert and B: The company employees you’re working with DON’T expect you to be an expert. They want you to ask questions, so they can teach you. So don’t Google answers to your questions, just email or stroll on over to a real person for some advice. Also this may be a question you want to avoid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of what Nick learned during his first week . . .

 

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Mar
19

The Intern Spotlight

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 In today’s post, meet Jamie Hogan – current Peppercomm intern and future PR star

 1.  Tell us about yourself- Where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and PR?

I am originally from Rochester, NY and attended college at Oswego State University in Oswego, NY. I graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in creative writing. After spending the summer after school working at AT&T, specifically teaching people how to use the iPhone when it first launched, I moved to New York, NY without a job. I snuck in right before the economy took a turn for the worst and after temping at a few random places (Hermès and Sony stick out in my mind) I landed an interview at a fashion jewelry company and got the position. I started out as the showroom manager and after that, was promoted to an account executive. Although I worked at that company for over five years, I knew that job wasn’t exactly right for me and that feeling was solidified by a particularly bad experience. I started seeking out new opportunities in fields that I thought would be interesting and because of my background in journalism, public relations really stood out. I was lucky enough to be hired as an intern at Peppercomm about three months ago, and have enjoyed my experiences since then!

2.  What area of the industry do you find most interesting and why?

Since I didn’t have any experience in public relations before this internship began, I actually find many aspects to be appealing! I’ve learned so much in this short period of time and I really think that there are a lot of exciting facets to the industry. As far as my accounts go, I really like the more “consumer-y” traditional PR projects and also enjoy helping out with new business research. And although I haven’t done much with it, I think the event-planning side is very interesting as well.

3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

One real surprise was learning some of the “behind the scenes” responsibilities that public relations professionals take on. For instance, it was amazing to learn that many times, it’s our team who is writing articles and answering questions on behalf of the accounts that are hiring us. I had to really wrap my head around that one! As one co-worker put it, “PR people run the world, and no one knows it.” I thought that was a fun way of describing it and it makes me feel like I’m part of an underground secret society.

4.  Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.

I’d say that my proudest moment so far was when a team member on one of my accounts gave me a shout-out during one of Peppercomm’s staff meetings. Getting recognized for something that I had done well made me feel great and really boosted my confidence. It was nice to know that my hard work had paid off.

5.  Any favorite/inspiring case studies?

While it was before my time at Peppercomm, I remember reading about the Teenage Mutant Ninjas Turtles 25th Anniversary. For such an iconic brand to reemerge and spark nostalgia into fans by way of social media, I thought it was a great juxtaposition of new and old because of the innovative use of modern technology.

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Feb
26

The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s post, meet Ali Pearce – current Peppercomm intern and future PR star.

1.  Tell us about yourself- Where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and PR?

My name is Ali Pearce and I’ve been interning at Peppercomm since September. I graduated from Elon University, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina, last May with a degree in Strategic Communications. I have always enjoyed working in teams and coming up with creative solutions to problems; therefore public relations was a perfect fit for me. Because it is an industry that encourages thinking outside of the box, I am constantly being challenged and continuously learning new ways to help our clients.

The culture at Peppercomm is unlike any other organization I have been a part of and immediately drew me into the company. The minute you step into the office, you can tell that everyone enjoys coming to work and because of that, the energy here is contagious.  My interview flew by because I spent half of the time laughing with the intern committee. That’s when I knew I was sold and that Peppercomm was the place for me.

2.  What area of the industry do you find most interesting and why?

I’m really interested in the digital side of public relations. Social media has revolutionized the industry by completely changing the relationship between brands and consumers. I love following the digital trends and learning new ways to build a brand’s presence through these social media platforms. One of my favorite aspects of this internship is working with Peppercomm’s internal digital team, PepperDigital.

3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

I think the biggest revelation about the industry for me was the different types of projects that we work on for our clients. Before working at Peppercomm, everything I knew about PR came from the classroom and my internship for an in-house PR department. Working for an agency is completely different; no two days are ever alike and you are constantly juggling different types of projects for a unique client base.

4.  Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.

One of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my internship thus far has been working for a foreign technology company. My team and I have been helping to establish a social media presence for this client. This has been difficult at times because of cultural differences and a differing of opinion on various topics. Drafting social media content for this client has taught me how to adjust my language and tone so that it matches my client’s audience, which I have come to learn is an essential skill in public relations. Overall, it has been rewarding every day to see an increase in engagement on the client’s Facebook page and to receive positive feedback from the client.

5.  Any favorite/inspiring case studies?

I recently came across a Unicef campaign on Pinterest that really resonated with me. Pinterest is typically used as a platform for sharing things that you want in your closet, for your home or things that you want to cook or craft. Working off of this theme, Unicef created a fictional Pinterest account for Ami Musa, a 13 year old girl from Sierra Leone. Using this account, Unicef pinned items such as a cup of rice or clean drinking water to show the wants of a 13 year old living in poverty. These images stood out amongst the typical materialistic pins. Personally, this campaign forced me to think about those less fortunate about myself and instilled in me a desire to do something to help others instead of pinning another pair of shoes.

 

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Oct
17

A day in the life

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We love “day in the life” stories. It’s a great way to gain good insight into a company and see what you could potentially be doing in a position with your dream organization.

One of our summer interns with our Business Outcomes division did just that and reflected on some of his tasks while on the team. Read his post on the Washington and Lee University website and learn a bit more about our Business Outcomes team.

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Intern Podcast

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this podcast produced by former Peppercom interns who share their experiences. Click Here