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June 18, 2019

An Intern’s Take on Myers Public Relations

We hate goodbyes at MPR, but when they do happen, we write about it!

Guest Blog by Melanie Ford, Myers PR Intern 2012-14

It’s hard to believe that my third summer at Myers has already come and gone. When I first applied for the position fresh out of high school, I truly had no idea what to expect. I remember going home after my interview and thinking, “I really connected [with Billie and Kate], but I doubt I actually got the job.” Imagine my shock when I got an offer a few days later!

My seasonal work after that phone call has truly launched my career and proved to me that office work doesn’t have to be the stereotypical “daily grind” – unless that grind is coffee-related! The staff at Myers has invested in, encouraged and mentored me immensely with a friendly professionalism that pervades their positive work culture.

1664During my first summer at MPR before college, I expressed that I was most interested in graphic design work…and give me graphic design work, they did! Here is one of my first projects at Myers which involved creating advertisement material for a client’s fall festival.


Although I was an intern, I was treated as an equal and encouraged to ask questions, request projects, and participate in staff meetings and professional development events, such as the
Reston Chamber of Commerce’s ACE Awards Luncheon.

IMG_7710By the time I came back for my second summer at MPR, I had decided to declare public relations as my major at school. The project managers at MPR sought to give me an overview of client properties and projects. I independently travelled to, oversaw, and photographed on-site events.

I also helped with social media analytics and event planning research. My best memory from this summer was hands-down calling reindeer farmers across the nation regarding reindeer rentals for holiday events! Unfortunately, reindeer are restricted from many states for health reasons, but this was still a fun, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

reindeer

During my third summer I did extensive research reports to aid in marketing proposals, media relations, and client relations. Most of my work was independent; I was given projects and trusted to take initiative to complete them.

I remember my first day at MPR and Kate asked me to research each of our clients to familiarize myself with the type of work that we do—note: this was also the same day that one of the offices in our building gave free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to everyone in the building (best first day ever!).

(Taken by Melanie Ford)

(Taken by Melanie Ford)

The type of work that MPR does became abundantly clear as I overheard phone calls (we work in an open floor plan for optimal collaboration), sat in on conference room meetings, and engaged in office culture; the team goes above and beyond to ensure clients’ satisfaction and success.

 

There’s no way to say it other than this: interning at Myers PR is FUN! To recognize special occasions or completion of extensive projects, the office celebrates with lunches, toasts in the conference room, ringing an “accomplishment bell,” or on occasion, a visit to the Reston Town Center Bow Tie Cinema.

IMG_1137Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some weeks where I had painstaking research projects for which I popped my headphones in and cranked out 40+ hours of work on that project alone. When the work was done though, I was thanked and encouraged profusely, which made it all worth it.

 

The work culture here is one of respect that is unparalleled by anywhere else that I have worked. The unique work ethic of our team is modeled by our founder and fearless leader, Marion Myers. According to this Game of Thrones character quiz which I posted on my Facebook profile a while ago (and the whole office ended up taking), her character is, very appropriately, Daenerys Targaryen the Mother of Dragons – nurturing, but tough as nails.

I sure am going to miss everyone, but we will see each other again!

Dear Graduating Communications Major:

First off, congratulations for completing your studies and choosing an exciting career path.

While I hold a firm belief that your undergraduate years should be about learning what it is you WANT to learn, in this job market, you NEED to have specific skills and experience to even get your foot in the door.

I meet graduating communications majors every spring , to give them a chance to interview, learn a little about the industry, and to get some guidance on how to proceed. With few exceptions, these students are coming out with little if any experience and limited skills to contribute to a PR or Marketing firm. I’d prefer to hire a philosophy major with leadership experience and some workable skills than a Phi Beta Kappa Communications Major without it.

What I look for in an entry-level communications employee:

  • Experience: Event and festival volunteers, fraternity/sorority event planners, bloggers, amateur video or web developers, college paper editors, college radio hosts, and other leadership roles.
  • Practical skills: Good written communication skills (first and foremost), the ability to edit, social media use to spread the word about your pet project or organization (not just familiarity with your personal Facebook page), photography, videography, HTML, graphic design, web design, etc. Certainly not all of these, but SOME of these.
  • Basic computer skills including Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Bonus computer skills: Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks, and even WordPress.

If you are looking for an internship, consider what area you are most interested in pursuing. Is it sports marketing, festival and event planning, healthcare PR, public affairs, media relations, crisis communications, community relations, or online marketing? You have lots of options.

Some ideas to beef up that resume:

  • Intern for one of your local elected officials.
  • Shadow a legislative aide.
  • Volunteer for a political campaign.
  • Volunteer at a polling site in November.
  • Write a guest column for a community newspaper.
  • Volunteer for community/charity events.
  • Work on the student newsletter/paper staff.
  • Intern with a local radio or cable TV station.
  • Maximize your scholastic or social leadership experience.
  • Start a blog about these experiences!

One last thought:
If you are not already, get on LinkedIn. AND, make sure your Facebook page is presentable to a potential employer. Yes, we will cyber-stalk you.

Good luck!